My Children are Banned from Electronics & Happy About it.

23 Sep

happy children

Yup, you read that right, we have banned our three children from all things electronic, iPads, computer, Wii and the iPad, and as bizarre as it sounds, they haven’t gone apeshit.

Ok, I’m not a complete witch, they are allowed limited access over the weekend, but during the week there is a zero tolerance policy towards technology. I am happy, to the point of disbelief, at how well it’s going.

The decision came about after a two month holiday back in the UK, during which the kids were pretty much allowed to use their iPods and the iPad freely. Mr Lemons and myself used those gadgets to baby sit our kids, as we enjoyed an extra half an hour in bed, it was bloody lush!

But each day, without fail, our sleep would be shattered, as yet another fight broke out over the murder of a Minecraft chicken!

minecraft chicken

After a fun day out, our kids would rush through the doors, frantically grabbing their iPods to see if their Jurassic Park dinosaurs had eaten, had a baby or God forbid, died!

The day’s fun overridden, yet again, by a bloody dinosaur and her yelping hungry babies.

I know the risks associated with allowing my children too much screen time.

Obesity, lack of concentrate and isolation amongst many, and a recent report has added ‘risks to mental health’ to the long list of related consequences.

But I am guilty of sometimes ignoring the warnings so that I can get on with things…

Then one day, whist in the supermarket with The 5 Year Old, I saw an elderly lady staring at us. Now normally people stare at us because we are loud and quite manic, as in this post here, but I do try to engage the kids whilst shopping, asking them to weigh produce or find a particular cereal, and this is always a noisy, sometimes stressful, but generally fun affair.

But on this day, I had plonked my son in the trolly and given him his iPod so that I could ‘have a bit of peace’.

I saw myself through the eyes of that old lady, a busy, distracted, rushed Mother and her child, totally unengaged with his surrounding, literally in a world, not of his own, but in that of a flock of electronic Angry Birds.

I felt pretty shitty right then. I only had one of my three children with me, and instead of taking the opportunity to spend some ‘quality time’ with him, I was completely ignoring him.

I had a flashback to the supermarket trips I would take with my own mother. I clearly remember sitting in the trolly in Tescos, sipping a small bottle of Panda cola. Then hopping out to unload the trolly and fill the begs.

I remember it felt like a treat.

Doing something as simple as going shopping with my mother has embedded itself into my memory.

Just going shopping, being together.

They grow up so fast and here was I missing it.

I decided right then, in the yogurt aisle, that my kids would also remember the ‘nothing days’, they’d they would be so naturally engaged with their surroundings that life would embed itself automatically into their curious, wonderful, alert little minds.

I wanted to wake them up from their Jurassic Park stupour.

So fast forward to the beginning of the new school term and I introduce ‘the ban’. I locked away the iPods, the Wii controls & the computer mouse, I also disconnected the TV ariel and I waited for the hysterics to commence!

electronic ban

But they didn’t.

Well at least not over Minecraft or Jurassic Park, we did however have a meltdown over a squashed caterpillar, a broken chilli plant, sock seams and who was going to stuff their hand up Sid’s bum in the ‘You’re Not so Scary Sid’ book.

They have played endlessly, gone on walks with the dog, read, made loom bands, sorted out the colouring pencils, made hideouts, baked these chocolate muffins, messed the whole freaken house up, climbed on the roof of the garden shed & stabbed a hole in my kitchen table making a shield.

loom bands

Of course they have argued, but they haven’t argued in the overly aggressive and frustrated manner that they always do over Mario Bros or the loss of a 3D chicken.

The most interesting thing so far, is that over the weekend, when ‘the ban’ was lifted, they hardly played with electronics at all. Apart from a brief spell on Just Dance and a session watching Dolly Parton singing Jolene on Youtube, they haven’t binged on screen time whatsoever.

I’m not Mary Poppins and I’m far from perfect.

You won’t now find me throwing myself into home-schooling or baking organic carrot muffins for supper, popping on their hessian-weave pyjamas and reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica before bedtime.

There will be days when I will think and most certainly will scream,  ‘Sod it, just sling a bloody movie on and SHUT THE HELL UP!” and equally there will be days that require us to use the internet for homework and research.

But for now I am choosing to switch off the electronics and switch on my children.

Wish me luck, and if all fails, wish me chilled Sauvignon Blanc.

Sarah x

 

 

 

Nigella Lawson’s Meatloaf… Cuz Yay, Weekend food!

19 Sep

meatloaf

My idea of a lush weekend is spending time in my kitchen, music on, wine in hand, slowly fiddling over a recipe and the only thing that excites me more is the thought of Bradley Cooper fiddling away in my kitchen *snort*.

Whereas Friday nights tend to be something special but quick, like my bacon, gorgonzola & mushroom steak-style sandwich or prawns with feta & piri piri, on Saturday and Sunday I look for something a little more robust. Something that gives me leftovers, makes me feel goddessy and gives me the opportunity to guzzle plenty of wine as I cook!

One of our favourite family meals is Nigella Lawson’s Meatloaf. I’ve long been a fan of food with a hint of ‘Americana’ and meatloaf screams US of A to me!

It makes me want to slip on a poodle print 50’s skirt, drag my hair into a ponytail and shout out, “Dinner’s ready ya’ll, come grab yourselves a glass of root beer!” whilst slapping my thigh.

Ahem…

I serve this with a bubbling dish of cauliflower cheese, buttered peas and onion gravy. I don’t normally cook potatoes with it, but if I were to, they would be mashed and heavily buttered, coz butter.

cauli cheese

 

This makes a whopper of a meatloaf, Nigella states it serves 8 – 10, even so, I make it as it is for my family of 5 (bearing in mind two of my kids eat as much a a squirrel).

Leftovers are amazing on Danish rye bread with a smear of hot mustard, or sliced up into sandwiches made with really good fresh white bread or alternatively simply jammed into the mouth straight from fridge with a blob of mayo.

To be fair, leftovers are just good. Period.

The step of slow cooking the onions cannot be skipped. I know it seems like a pain in the arse to fry the onions for 20 minutes, but believe me, it’s what makes this meatloaf the best you’ve ever eaten!

If you fancy some easy, cozy, nostalgic cooking this is the recipe for you!

*hitches up poodle skirt and skips off to the kitchen*

 

What you need

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 onions, roughly 500g
  • 5 x 15ml tablespoons of butter or duck fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcester sauce
  • 1 kilo of minced/ground beef
  • 100g fresh breadcrumbs (I have omitted this on occasion and the loaf still works)
  • 250g rindless streaky bacon

large roasting tin/dish.

 

What you do

Firstly, preheat your oven to 200°C/ gas mark 6 / 425°F. Now bring a pan of water up to the boil and pop in 3 of the eggs and simmer for 8 minutes. Then refresh in cold water.

Peel and chop the onions, then fry gently in the duck fat or butter with the salt for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden and caramelised. Stir regularly to prevent burning. Once done set aside on a cold plate to cool.

Place the beef in a bowl, add the Worcester sauce & the cooled onions, mix in well with your hands. Now add the remaining egg, the breadcrumbs and a good grinding of black pepper and mix well.

mince mix

Now divide the mixture into 2, and place half into your baking tin or dish. Pat it into an oval shape of about 23cm long. Peel the 3 eggs gently (they will be wobbly and strangely satisfying to handle) and place in a line on the middle of the meat mixture.

eggs in meatloaf

Shape and mould the remaining meat over the top of the eggs, making sure there are no gaps, then cover the meatloaf with the bacon rashers.

bacon wrapped meatloaf

Finally, bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until the juices run clear and then leave to rest for about 15 minutes before carving.

bacon meatloaf

Now all you need to do is slice thickly and get stuck in my beauties!

Sarah x

 

I have to Talk… Some Serious Shit Ya’ll!

17 Sep

me with Lemons

So here’s the thing, I am returning to the blogging world. Ta da!

It used to be my solace, my happy place and my release, but shit, girl got lazy and forgot how great blogging made me feel.

I need to rediscover this place.

Now please, don’t expect too much from me, I might be a little shaky to begin with, but like good wine, I will get better with time, I promise you.

I will be writing about my 3 kids again, my love of food and I will be sharing my favourite recipes with you, I might occasionally rant but generally this will be a happy place.

There will be wine, naturally, and swearing and topless writing, coz f**k, bras!

So what has prompted this return?

Quite simply a very long holiday back to my homeland Wales and the realisation that life is flying by me and I am still sat on my freaken bum waiting for the right moment to ‘write that great blog post’, ‘to get more writing clients’ and to ‘move ahead with my goals’.

I guess that’s what holidays should do eh… kick your wobbly arse into gear.

Believe in yourself quote

The other reason I need to blog again, is simply that I cannot keep my mouth shut.

I have to talk. The End.

Currently my place to talk is Facebook and what began as a little page of mainly my friends and family has now gone berserk and my followers have swelled to over 4,000.

Go check that shit out, NOW! Ohhh no, not now, read this first!

But the thing is I need more, I need to talk more. I need to blog again and talk to you beauties, simples.

 

So please, comment in the comments section on the blog, share posts if you think I’m awesome, but mainly follow my story to know how epically hopeless I am and how it really is ok to not to be perfect.

 

Sarah x

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

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