We’re going to the Zoo..

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It’s a tiny bit over due, but we went to the zoo a couple of weeks a go. I did mention it a blog post here already, but what I haven’t yet mentioned was how impressed I was with the appearance of the zoo, especially the gardens. We visited Chester Zoo about six years ago but due to a horrible accident with my youngest, he fell off a bridge and we had to rush him to hospital with a gash in his head, I’ve not felt  inclined to return. However on entering the zoo this time I was immediately impressed with the meadow style landscapes that appeared along the walk ways and between enclosures.

In other places the gardens resembled, to my very untrained eye, English cottage gardens with plants you might see blooming before a beautiful thatch. As we were lucky to visit in the sunshine, there were plenty of mini beasts buzzing around enjoying the flora.

And then there amongst the mini beasts, and the beautiful gardens are the gigantic beasts, huge mechanical moving versions of all the bugs our children love, a special exhibition current installed. Oh and of course we saw some beautiful real animals too. So here we go, share in our day out..

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How cute is this little fella..

I’ve linked this up with How does your Garden Grow over at Mammasuarus….

Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?

Hiding, Seeking, Knights and Treasure….

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again “nowt better than fresh air to blow away the cobwebs” and so that’s exactly what we did this Sunday, get some fresh air. We do have a lot of dusty musty cobwebs hanging over this family at present, a bit of bonding time in the great outdoors I thought would do us all some good. So I packed hot chocolate, coffee, muffins and biscuits and we headed off to a favourite spot. Cobwebs1

I love all the vibrant mosses growing up the banks and carpeting the woodlands. The plantation after a warm summer and then recent rains, seemed almost luminous in places.cobweb3




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On route we play a few games of hide and seek, giving the boys the opportunity to wrestle with the undergrowth and clamber into large bushes, they are in there somewhere..




When we reach the ruins a game of knights and castles is played out, whilst I set out the refreshments.


Tink plays strong man with a discarded branch, not quiet managing to lift it over his head, but close..


Then Tink reveals the treasure trove he has brought and heads off to hide it, we all get a go at hunting it out..


Happy families for all, as we return to the car just in time to avoid the rain…


Is it Time to Relax?


How do you relax the therapist enquires, pen poised to record my response to yet another soul delving question.

 “I drink a glass of wine… maybe a bottle.”

I watch her face to see the reaction, the tiniest indication, in the flicker of an eye or the spasm of a muscle to reveal her thinking. “You skanky useless mother, or you overgrown good time party girl, give it up, it’s embarrassing, pathetic even”

She lifts her head and smiles softly “ I know” she says “ it can be a release”.

“I don’t like it though, I want to be able to relax but find it really hard and so I resort sometimes to what I know”

“I can help you with that” she replies.

I decide a trip to the Zoo would be a good day out for us, we’ve not been for a long time and fun day with the boys is what I need. Daddy is going to the cricket, so instead of going it alone, a far too daunting a task, I commandeer granny into our trip. We rise early, make sandwiches and set off. The boys are in good spirits and excited at the prospect of the animals we are going to see, meerkats, monkeys, tigers and lions.  I remain upbeat, even with one small upset in the car, one of my pet hates because it’s so hard to control a situation when you’re driving, and don’t they know it, but we get through arriving just as the gates open.

As we move between Rhino’s and Painted Dogs, Otters and Butterflies, my motherly instinct to be on guard is by my side throughout. Born of the knowledge, and painful experience, that in any given moment one or other of my children could dive head first into a pattern of undesirable behaviour, to me vigilance is key. The firmness of my stance requires tight shoulder and an over active mind, seeking out our next possible downfall. Could it be that wasp buzzing around our sandwiches or the decision to see the Orangutans before we head to the gift shop? It is a long day but it passes without any major incidents, we actually quite enjoy ourselves.

By the time we open our front door my shoulder are knotted so tightly I swear they are brushing my ear lobes, I instantly reach for a glass of wine, bark some orders about behaving “or else” and run myself a bath. I escape into a mound of bubbles and steam luxuriating over every silky mouthful of wine and I feel a little relaxed.

Next day the empty bottle sits by the sink as I rub my eyes and consider my head and I trying to focus on the task of making packed lunches. I’m annoyed with myself. Why did I need to do that? We had a good day, it was enjoyable wasn’t it? But actually it wasn’t that enjoyable for me. I’ve become so uptight around my children that I struggle to enjoy them and the time we spend together. My confidence in them and my own ability to “cope” with them is so thin on the ground that I assume and think the worst at all times, and I therefore never enjoy the moment.

I recently, well over a year ago, gave up alcohol for a year hoping to solve all my worldly problems with this heroic act. I lasted eight and a half months before an almighty ball of family trauma, engulfed in stress, knocked me sideways into a glass of wine. I was miserable a lot of those eight and a half months and I now understand why. I spent all eight and a half months consumed by stress, anxiety, worry and more stress. Without my wine induced world of escape, there was no escape, I found no other escape and I still don’t know what that other escape might be.

I have however recognised I can’t continue with the uncertainty I feel in parenting my children, and I have therefore sounded the alarm. Post Adoption Social Services are on board and referrals have been made for other agencies who can hopefully offer support.

I am not the in any way hovering over a bottle of wine each evening, in fact on the most my time of abstinence has brought greater caution and self awareness,  but yes I still enjoy a drink or two at the right time and maybe occasionally the wrong time.

And then there is the therapist, pen poised, and taking notes. I like her; I really believe she might be able to help me. I need confidence again, I need reassurance, I need strategies, I think she might be able to give these too me.

Do you know that feeling of having wondered so far from the path that you are lost? Me too. But do you know the feeling of taking a turning that suddenly feels that you might be facing in the right direction again, yes, that’s how I feel right now. I’m ever hopeful that we are back on track and heading towards a place that is happier, and even more hopeful that I’ll find relaxation there too.

#MemoryBox – Cola Daze


Over months and years we have come to realise that Coca-Cola is not for Stig. It’s never been a big part of our lives, it’s rarely in our fridge, but on a meal out or a special occasion the questions is always “Am I allowed a coke?”

Last Christmas I sat next to Stig at the large family dinner table of my in-laws and watched him place a can of coke to his lips, tilt it upside down vertically and empty the whole contents of the can into his mouth, in one go. The meal was excruciating for me as he fidgeted, flitted and babbled through the whole meal, unable to even concentrate on eating his food because he was just too distracted, buzzing.

So the rule is in place, for Stig there is to be no Coca-Cola, caffeine and him plus a good smattering of sugar are just not a good combination. I realise for him this is hard, it’s the king of drinks as far as kids are concerned. We’ve talked about the sensation it creates in his body and if he likes that uncontrollable rush it gives him, he does. However, we’ve talked about the different situations that have resulted from him being a little wired. Usually we get plenty of back chat and attitude, as if his brain can’t fully engage with his mouth to stop what he’s saying before it tumbles out, something he struggles with at the best of times.  On reflection he has agreed that it’s probably for the best.

This week has seen Stig return to Cubs, he’ll only be there a term before he moves up to Scouts, hopefully. He had really enjoyed being a Beaver and moved onto Cubs two years ago. The late start time and even later finish had worried us, as Stig needs his sleep. Our concerns were well founded as Stig, one morning after Cubs the night before, turned to his Year Three teacher and said ” I’m not doing that work, I was at Cubs last night and I’m shattered”. So that was the end of that.

Two years on and Stig’s need for constant stimulation and his love of being active and occupied and  we’ve decided to give it another go. So off he went this week, knowing full well that there would be no second or third chance, we had been lucky to get him the place as he’d already had a go, so the outcome needed to be good.

I have to admit I was nervous, he has come so far since Year Three, but still, a highly charged testosterone brimming atmosphere is just the sort to provoke Stig, bit like the playground at times. So I sighed a great big body slumping sigh of relief when he returned with a big thumbs up.

“And you know what mummy, they had coke because it was a bit of a leaving party for some cubs and I said no, I’m not allowed it.”

“Wow well done, I’m really proud of you for that, what did you have instead”

” A glass of water”

Yes there it is the proud moment, the sign of maturity, the steps that build our trust and belief. It would have been quite easy for him to have had the coke and I most likely would never have known. Or in the past he would have just done it and lived with the consequences but here he made a choice to follow the rule we set, without me standing over him reminding him it existed. Very proud mummy. Oh and because I know that the forbidden fruits are the ones that offer the greatest temptation I went out and bought a couple of the mini mixer cans of coke for him to have as a treat at home, but only if he sips it.


Project Autumn

Project AutumnThe return to school for me is a bit like New Year, an opportunity to start afresh and to begin new projects. This year is no different, re-invigorated by the freedom school offers me, I am planning a massive overhaul of our home.

On opening our front door when we arrived home from our holiday, I was not hit by my normal feeling of warmth, but instead by a grey overcast sense of disappointment. Usually the Colfax and Fowler wallpaper swirling up our stairway brings a happy smile to my face; I’m always taken aback by how beautiful it is. However this time the dirty hall carpet and the lack of working light fittings is what struck me. It felt scruffy and tired, and it made me feel depressed, honestly depressed.

My Kitchen, where I spend a lot of time is decoratively not done to my taste but usually its familiarity means I’m home, all I could see was clutter and debris gathering in every spare corner. Don’t start me on what happens if you open some of the cupboards; be prepared to catch a tumbling pan or vagrant jar of spice.

Upstairs each bedroom needs a little work too. Although Tink has had a newly decorated bedroom fairly recently, his space over flows with stuff, stuff which I am determined to create some order from. Stig had a new bedroom not long after we moved into our house, within the first year. We’ve now been here 6 years and it’s starting to look a little tired, ok it’s been battered. His explosive out bursts have seen him pull bits of his furniture to pieces and there are a couple of crater size holes in his wall. I have always stood firm on the rule that until the destructive behaviour stops, the bedroom remained as it is. Recently we had to strategically place a shiny poster of the solar system over the holes in the wall as a friend was coming to stay; I knew he would feel embarrassed and I know the shame doesn’t help him. So I’m softening, maybe a newly decorated big boys bedroom would be a good incentive to work towards, to try and over overcome some of the poor choices he makes when angry. Whether that’s possible is another post entirely but it’s food for thought.

We don’t have a massive budget but I think we will start with a de-clutter, all cupboards, shelves and storage spaces will get the treatment. I’m a bit of a hoarder but at present I can feel a slight (only slight MR H before you get any big ideas about my fabric collection) ruthless streak running through my veins, so I will strike whilst the iron is hot. Next a carpet cleaner will be hired and the job I have been promising to do for three years or more will happen. Things will be cleaned and maybe refreshed with a coat of paint. The electrician will be called and a couple of new light fittings hung.

Once that is done I will fashion, reorganise and style. A few new purchases may be required, it’s amazing what a bit of new bedding and a couple of cushions can do for a room. The boys particularly could do with new duvets as occasionally they still sleep beneath those they had when they first came to us. I always love new bedding there is nothing better than climbing into crisp new sheets and looking down on a beautiful new duvet cover. I particularly like the bedding ranges from K&Co.com

So that’s the plan and watch this space for updates, hopefully my momentum won’t waver, I really can’t leave the hall carpet yet another year.

Disclaimer: This is a Featured Post for K&Co.