Talk About Cheesecake

Musings, meanderings and meditation for my mind.


Come to bed with me.

In the last few weeks there have been quite a few people in my bed.

I mean, besides Mr G. The Mini Monsters climb in quite often, often at about 3 am when I am too sleepy to actually make them go back to their own beds. But that’s ok – family is allowed.

In addition though, there was my sister-in-law. She didn’t stay too long. The brother-in-law had a go. My mum. Oh – and my neighbours husband.

The cat, of course, gets in bed with me every night.

Don’t worry – this blog has not taken an unexpected swing in direction.

Everyone just wants to try out my new bed. Understandably, because it is quite amazing.

Being a long term sufferer from a bad back, I have tried memory foam. Mr G put thick hard boards under our mattress. We spent a fortune on a recommended orthopaedic  mattress with supportive springs, bamboo layer and enforced edging. That was the most annoying, because as the most expensive solution it actually lasted the shortest amount of time before the support started to give way.

Mr G did a little research and came up with a whole new solution. What about, he said, a water bed.

Images from sleazy 1980’s movies spring to mind (well, they don’t, because I am too young to know of any, but you know the sort I would mean, if I knew them).

However, he convinced me to go along to a sales room and try them out. They had four beds set up, each one a different ‘firmness’, except with water beds it’s not about the firmness so much as the speed with which the displacement stops. Level 1 was much as you would imagine – I lay down – and sank. Mr G lay down next to me and I shot up in the air on a wave. We bounced about for a bit until things settled. Every movement started the bounce again. Fun maybe. Conducive to a night’s sleep? No!

Level 5 had a 99% stability. Now, I am no expert but my amateur explanation of this is that the water movement should stop pretty much instantly. The mattress is filled with a layer of fibre baffles. The more fibre, the less movement in the water.

Since I am not writing a sales piece on the water bed, I’ll skim through the main points.

– It’s heated. There is a small heater pad that keeps the water at a comfortable temperature. It’s not expensive.

– It’s hygienic. Whereas in your normal mattress your skin cells drop down into it where they can fester (can everyone say yeuch), with a water bed there is a removable top cover that can be washed. The mattress is wipe clean. Voila! No more dust mites.

– Someone else comes along and set it up. Hassle free. Oh – except for the bottle of conditioner we have to add to the water to keep it clean. Annually. Sigh.

– It’s silent. Once all the air is removed, there is no sloshing.

– Best of all – it’s great for bad backs. OK – this is subjective and other people may have a different experience but I find it quite amazing. My back is better than it has been in years. I can sleep on my side.


I am pretty darn happy. Of course it’s a bed, not a miracle worker. Of course I still get aches and pains. But it is helping. I am sleeping better than I have in a long time – and standing upright in the mornings instead of standing crooked.

In fact – I’m off to bed. Night all.

I have added more pictures to my facebook album, for those interested in step by step erections!

A custom made base is inserted into the surroundings of our original bed

A custom made base is inserted into the surroundings of our original bed

The water mattress, inside the hard sided support, is filled and the air removed.

The water mattress, inside the hard sided support, is filled and the air removed.

Zip up the washable cover - and who would know. Well, until you sit down.

Zip up the washable cover – and who would know. Well, until you sit down.


Daily Prompt – Happily Ever After

“And they lived happily ever after.” Think about this line for a few minutes. Are you living happily ever after? If not, what will it take for you to get there?

This particular Daily Prompt just called out to me for two reasons.

Living happily every after is something that happens to every fairy tale princess after their wedding to their prince.

And of course – not only are we about to embark on our secret getaway to the land where fairy tales come true, but we are doing it in honor of our first wedding anniversary. Yes, one year ago I married my prince. Although I’m not sure anyone would describe me as a fairy tale princess, we did have a magical day surrounded by love, laughter, family, friends and complete with castle.

The problem with fairy tales is that they always end at the wedding.

No story of derring do, love conquers all, true loves kiss and singing birds, who can also curiously do housework without crapping on the windowsill, ever mentions what comes next. The bit that follows, where happily ever after gets tested.

Mortgages. Work. Redundancy. Debt. Kids. Finding time for each other amongst the stress. Living next door to your in-laws. (No? Just me then, that one?)


Although, I suppose the whole fairy tale aspect precludes reality getting a look in. It’s an oxymoron.

Not to say that people can’t and don’t live happily ever after. But I do think that you have to take a good hard look at what that actually means, take away the spoonful of sugar and see what really grows from your magic bean.

For example – if my ‘happily ever after’ was to live in a palace with singing wardrobes, stables full of prancing ponies, fairgrounds in the garden and racks of glass slippers, I could be setting my prince up for a definite fall. To be fair to him, that’s a lot to provide.

If however, it was to have a secure home with a pretty good standard of living, money to treat ourselves and the kids to a holiday every now and then, well that’s doable.

In addition, if it means that my prince is my best friend; that he can make me laugh when I’m sad and cheer me up when I’m grumpy, love me when I am wearing sweats and haven’t washed my hair in days, bring me coffee and aspirin when I have a hangover and cook  sausage and egg for Sunday breaky  – well, he is a prince to me.

The goalposts on happily ever after may move as we age,  lifestyles change and the kids grow up. I’m just a fickle princess. But as long as I have my prince, happily ever after seems pretty ok to me.

Happy anniversary Mr G.

written for the Daily Prompt


A Proud Moment – an Extra Special Post

This is an extra special post, so I wanted it to be about something extra special in my life. Of course, there is nothing more special than my beautiful, wonderful, funny and cheeky Mini Monsters, so let’s make today about them!

I’m doing this backwards, but let’s start with Mini Monster 2.

My wee man is 3 years old. He is a funny little chap, he loves to make people laugh so that he can join in with a great big belly chuckle. MM2 takes after his dad, he likes to do things properly and he won’t take instruction. Instead he watches everyone around him until he is sure he knows what to do – and then he goes for it.

For example – take learning to crawl. Mini Monster 1 did the whole pushing herself along the floor on her tummy – usually backwards – until she was wedged under the sofa. Then she learnt to get on to her hands and knees and rock for a while before splatting face first into the carpet. When it came to walking she spent time surfing around the sofa before taking her first tentative 3 steps – and splatting turtle style.

Not so for MM2. He sat and watched everyone run around him for ages. Not even a hint of rocking. One hot sunny afternoon in the summer he sat and studied MM1 and her cousins sprinting about the garden and splashing in the pool. All day. We went indoors in the evening, sat him on the floor and when we came back he was crawling off up the stairs. Yes, from sit to climb in one afternoon. When he was ready to walk – he did. He got up one day while we were watching TV and walked from one end of the room to the other.

Of course, I don’t have a super baby. I’m not totally mental. There were a few splats. But generally he likes to study the problem and then get it right the first time.

So – on to my proud mummy boast for MM2. This month we have tackled potty training. I did try about 6 months ago but clearly he had not spent enough time studying the process then. This time round, he got it pretty darn quickly. Yay to a nappy free house!

Now on to Mini Monster 1. My delicious 6 year old girl is pretty darn funny. She loves to make jokes and is a cheeky little girly – no flies on her when it comes to remembering something you told her so that she can use it against you. Who knew they actually listened to you, right?

MM1 shares some of my more admirable qualities. No patience, the ability to completely ignore you while staring you in the face (she just discovered daydreaming is a great excuse for everything), complete stubbornness (oh, hang on, they both have that) and being able to find something funny in just about every situation (believe me, sometimes this is just so inappropriate!)

We have been working together on her maths recently – as you may recall this is a stressful time for us both. Still, it looks like it has paid off, because she has moved up a group in class and is working on the harder problems. Proud mummy boast – I have spawned a genius. Clearly she gets that from me too!

OK – maybe not.

Still, I have 2 pretty wonderful monsters to cuddle and I am grateful for that!

Which reminds me – the extra special bit.

This is my 100th post – I am amazed that I have got this far and written so much, after my 1st little post. More amazed that some of you stop by regularly to have a read – so thank you very much for taking time not only to read but also to comment.

What’s made your month special? Share it with me, we can grin insufferably together.


Project Optimism – It’s all in the planning

Today is Monday – the day we write a post for Project Optimism.

The problem I had today is that I am not really sure what to write about. You see, I am already operating at a pretty high level of muscle clenching, wee inducing, over excitement due to our impending getaway.

I have spent the morning searching for cheap thermal underwear for the kids, on the basis that Paris in March is going to be a wee bit chilly and no matter how hysterically hyperactive they are going to be, at some point the cold may just overwhelm the heat caused by the wriggling.

I have planned the journey – warning triangle and breakdown cover for the car, European sat nav for my sanity, entertainment and drinks for the kids, tranquiliser for Mr G (seriously, can you imagine a normally twitchy, tense, grouchy passenger and then put him in a car on the wrong side of the road. With right hand drive! I must be mad.)

Wrist bands and ID badges are here for the kids – I am debating whether tattoo’ing my mobile number to their wrists is over protective  . . . (paranoid mother alert)

I am prepared. Which is to say, now that I think I am ready I can start worrying about everything. Because, while I love to visit new places, getting there always makes me nervous. Ensuring we have all the paperwork, knowing where the kids are at all times – it’s this sort of thing that makes my stomach churn. Once we are there, all will be fine – until the day before we leave anyway.

So what to be optimistic about?

I am optimistic that it won’t rain all week – just half of it.

I am optimistic that I can drive on the wrong side of the road without too many tense moments or heated discussions about how I should have indicated before pulling out.

I am optimistic that I have not forgotten anything.

As for the rest of it – that’s all down to good planning!


What are you all optimistic about this week?




To clean or not to clean

I’m stuck in a dilemma at the moment. As a WFHM, trying to fit in puppy training, spending time with the kids, studying a home learning course,  . . . I just can’t cope with it all right now.

Mr G and I have discussed getting a cleaner to help me – just a few hours a week to tackle the growling troll living under the ironing and the gremlins that scatter toys and clothes across the house whenever my back is turned.

So why is it I feel so guilty at the idea of having a cleaner come in to help me out? Why do I feel as if I should be able to do everything. After all, I know that I can’t – I even said so not so long ago.

I don’t expect my home to look like a show house. I accept that some days the kids will be fed frozen food and not fresh, home baked meals every night. I don’t worry about polishing school shoes daily or making crafty decorations out of toilet rolls and dry pasta (I wouldn’t even know where to start with that one!).

I don’t buy into the theory that a perfect mum bakes and sews and spends 4 hours every day on home education. There are many different things that make a great parent.

Having said that, for some reason the idea of getting a cleaner, even for a few hours, makes me feel as though I am somehow failing. After all, I am working from home. I am physically in the house. Surely then I should be able to keep it clean and tidy, even as I work an 8 hour day, cook the dinner, do the shopping, school runs and homework?



When I went out to work all day, the mess could just wait until the weekend. It’s only now I am home that it grates. It’s the proximity to the chaos that seems to be wearing me down.

Am I indoctrinated into feeling like I must be the perfect wife, mother, housekeeper . . .  ? Actually, I don’t believe in the stereotype of a women’s role. Mr G helps around the house but I am here the most so have, in theory, more time to do it.


In the ‘good old days’ when a woman was more likely to run the house and the man be the only breadwinner, then maintaining a perfect house was expected. It seems a fair share of the work involved in keeping a family moving –  being the mother, housekeeper, taxi service for the children and cook is a full time job.

It makes sense then, as more women work – and have to work as the cost of living increases – that the housework will suffer. Something has to slacken off and we can’t very well stop looking after the children or feeding everyone, now can we?

Despite the logic showing that something has to give, why is it then that I still feel the need to manage without help?

Cost aside – that’s a separate discussion – do you have a cleaner – or would you have one? Do you think that in this day and age we should be able to manage running the home and working full time?


Bring a smile to a face today

I am feeling totally in love with the world today.

There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, I am uber-excited about our secret getaway we have planned.

Secondly, I am really happy to get some delightful feedback and comments by some lovely people on my blog. I don’t have many readers, but I cherish every one of you and love getting to know you all better.

Thirdly, the sun is out. Ok, it is cold, there is frost on the grass and I had to scrape ice off the windscreen this morning. But the sun is out and it is a beautiful day. I am a Leo, which could explain why I love sunshine so much. It doesn’t have to be hot, although I love to be warm too.

Take today for example. The sunshine is sparkling along the frosty branches of our willow tree, making the dangling fronds glisten like a beautiful chandelier. The sky is a light, crisp blue. Snowdrops are showing along the pathways and soon the daffodils will be out for Easter. New growth is everywhere. It’s like the whole world took a breath today and said ‘Let Spring begin!’

Here I am sitting in my office with this beautiful view, by my nice warm radiator and listening to the delightful sound of squeals and giggles from Mini Monster 1 and her cousins playing in the next room. There are rainbows sailing around the room, courtesy of my rainbow maker. It’s a good day and I feel like smiling.

The sun is shining on the willow - the view from my office.

The sun is shining on the willow – the view from my office.



The thing is, I love to smile. I love to make other people smile too. Cuddling my babies makes me smile. Tickling their tummies and blowing raspberries in their necks makes them smile and giggle, which in turn makes everyone who can hear them smile too. A smile is infectious.

Try it.

Smile at a complete stranger as you interact with them today. When you are paying for your coffee, smile when you thank the waitress. As you open the door for the old lady behind you, smile as you say ‘After you.’ I bet they smile back. Smiling is infectious and just using those smiley muscles in your face makes you feel better inside.

I love to give presents too. I love to get them of course – take my rainbow maker. Such a simple thing given to me by a friend. Not for a special occasion, but just to brighten my office and make me smile. And it does!

My mum will be here soon to stay with us for a few days. I have her Christmas present waiting. I haven’t seen her since November. It’s nice receiving a present, but putting the time into choosing something special for a family member or a friend is satisfying too. Making family smile will make you smile too. I tell you, smiles are infectious.

In a way, smiling is selfish. Every time you smile, you feel happier. Every time you make someone else smile, you catch the smile right back, doubling your happy. So go on. Be selfish. Get out there and infect everyone with some happy. What can you do to make someone smile today?



Project Optimism – The Secret Getaway

Holy Kimoley, I am so excited.

(No, I don’t know what a Kimoley is. I just always wanted to use the phrase)

We are rapidly approaching our first wedding anniversary. What an amazingly fast year it has been! So much has happened.

A year and 3 months ago I was made redundant. I had no idea what to do with myself. Looking back at my posts from then then I was still optimistic, but frankly a little lost.

A year later I have got married, had an amazing honeymoon, gone self employed, cracked open a blog . . . It’s been exciting, educational, full of new experiences. Not least of which was learning to answer to a new name!

But now I am going to check off one more item from my bucket list. Well, two hopefully.

I am so excited I found myself doing a little dance round the house today. Quietly. So as not to alert Mini Monster 1 who is currently home on half term. Because its a surprise for her, and Mini Monster 2 of course.

So I can tell you, but you have to keep it quiet.

For our wedding anniversary, we are going away. On a trip. A secret getaway. We aren’t going to tell the kids. Nope, we will just load them in the car and see how long it takes them to work it out.

I can’t wait to see their faces. I know they are going to be ecstatic. Maybe not as ecstatic as me, I am pretty darn excited, I have to tell you. This is, after all, one of the reasons I had kids. So I can go on this particular trip and revert to being a kid myself.

Oh, I can’t tell you. You will have to guess.

But I will give you a hint. It’s a place where they promise to make the magic come alive.

And to think that a year ago I was unemployed and worrying about the future. Stay optimistic people and your dreams may just come true.

This post has been brought to you as part of Project Optimism. To find out more, please click on the cute elephant to the right. Go on, have a nose. It’s worth it!


Teaching plus children equals insanity

I’ve been trying to spend more time doing homework with my daughter. She comes home each week with some spellings and some maths.

Spellings I can do. She writes them out, I ask her to spell them back to me and then I show her how to use them in a sentence. We can discuss the meaning of words and how the same sounding word can have different spellings and meanings. I started her off early learning her to, too and two’s and there, they’re and theirs.

Maths is a whole different conundrum. Obviously I can do the basic level of maths. But how to explain it, that is the problem. Take for example, your times table.

Me: 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 15

Which is the same as saying

5 times 3 is 15.

Mini Monster 1: I don’t get it.

Me: You have five lots of three. Count them. The number three is written down five times. So five lots of three are fifteen.


Me: So what is 6 times 3?

MM1 : I don’t get it.

I am left banging my head on the table in frustration. Homework time is not an enjoyable place for MM1 or for me. In addition (get it!) there are other factors to consider.

Take language. I say ‘subtract’.  I may also use ‘minus’ or ‘less than’. MM1  has been taught ‘take away’. I asked her what she had learnt in arithmetic yesterday, she told me they didn’t do that at her school.

Methods change as well. MM1 was carefully drawing something called a number line to do some basic addition. I couldn’t help her – I didn’t have a clue what she was trying to do. Instead we spent a painful hour learning how to add up in columns, the way we did when I was a child. I am reliably informed that they don’t learn the time tables anymore, or at least, not the way we did. No more rooms of chanting children learning ‘three times three is nine, four times three is twelve.’

Don’t you think parents need lessons these days to update us in whatever it is our children are learning, so that we can do homework with them?

The biggest issue with doing our homework together, however, is patience. I apparently have absolutely none.

I mean, I already knew that I had very little.

But apparently, when it comes to explaining homework to my own child, I have none.

We both get fed up and irritable. There are tears and tantrums, on both sides. Six year olds cannot learn without climbing up and down from their chairs, lying half across the table, fiddling with whatever they can reach. Seriously, they cannot sit still.


I have come to the conclusion that teachers are very special people. They are blessed with deep wells of patience. Clearly they took my share and possibly yours as well. Teachers are able to explain magical things like why two plus two does, in fact, equal four.

Teachers are amazing. They are very clearly also, absolutely, completely and utterly, no doubting it, totally insane.

Which brings me to my last discussion with my darling daughter.

Take a deep breath!

Me: Something minus 16 is 11. What is something?

MM1: What does minus mean?

Me: Take Away

MM1: What was the question?

Me: It’s written there. Something take away 16 is 11

MM1: I don’t get it

Me: You had some apples. I took 16 of them away. Now you have 11 apples. How many did you have in the beginning.

MM1: I don’t get what you want me to do.

Me: You had a lot of apples. I took some away. How many did you start with before I took them away,

MM1: My feet hurt.

Me: What?

MM1: I can’t think, my feet hurt.

Me: You had some sodding apples, I took 16 of them. Now you only have 11. What are you doing now?

MM1: Drawing a hand.

Me: Why are you drawing a hand?

MM1: So I can count the fingers.

Me: Why do you need to draw hands, you have hands?

MM1: I want to do it this way

Me: What are you counting?

MM1: I dont know.

Me: Sod the apples.  I need a drink


Project Optimism: Those Hormone Wasps.

Wow – how about those hormones ladies!

Come on, admit it. I am not the only woman in the world to have been beaten down by the nasty hormone wasp. That evil little bug buzzes about, stinging you when you are not expecting it, so surreptitiously that you don’t even know you were infected until you start to come out the other side.

There are various points in our lives when we know hormones will take over, the buzzing will get so loud it will drown out the small voice of rationality in our heads.

Puberty, for example. Yes, that is universally recognised as a time when we will get emotional, dramatic and the world will turn against us. Teenagerdoom!

Pregnancy. Oh boy yes, that one does have a kick. Weepy, hysterical with laughter, angry, delirious . . . that little bundle of fun growing inside you has somehow grabbed hold of the control panel to your tear ducts and your brain and is pressing buttons at random to see what you will do next.

Menopause. While I haven’t personally been through this one myself yet, I do clearly recall coming home for the holidays from uni and after 24 hours telling my usually calm and capable mother that I would go and spend Christmas in my dorm alone if she didn’t go get some HRT. Insane does not describe it!

But what about the other times! You know, ladies, those times to which I refer. I don’t mean the predictable monthly cycle where we know we might get a little grumpy. When we might be slightly less amenable than usual and, dare I say it, even enjoy it a little. When the men about us like to be a little daring and risk a few jokes. ‘Oh, it it that time, darling?’

I mean the times when we just feel mired down, fed up, grumpy and depressed. Life is moving along as normal, nothing has necessarily gone wrong, the world has not blown up. But we just feel like there is a big fat wasp prodding us along. It’s more than PMT.

Over the last few weeks I have been attacked by the wasp. That little bugger has been driving me mad. Paranoia, anger, I had it all. For no reason. Nothing I could explain anyway. And finally, last weekend it went away. Life seemed rosy again.

But it was only after the weight of the world crumbled off my shoulders that I could recognise how down and fed up – how not me – I had been.

I did not like being me over those few weeks. I did not enjoy feeling angry at the world and not know why.

But I am not pregnant, I am not suffering from teenagerdoom and I certainly am not nearing menopause. It’s worse than PMT but there is no name for it. A fair few of my friends seem to be suffering from it right now too. It’s mid thirties, mothering tiredness perhaps. It’s the ‘having children under 10 and needing a little silence’ syndrome. Maybe it’s just New Year blues, after all, we can’t all blame it on the children.

Whatever it is, I just wanted to reassure you ladies. It does go!

And in the meantime, if you want to come and have a rant about it, I’m listening.


Ok – this may not be overtly optimistic, but I assure you, it is! Look hard, the optimism is in there. 

If you want to be part of Project Optimism, find out more here and here.


My Scaredy Cat.







I have introduced Bagel – our pirating puppy who pillages the kitchen whenever we leave her alone for 5 minutes or more.

Which means it is only fair to introduce my first baby, now the old lady of the house, the esteemed matriarch, Spook the cat.

Spooky has lived with me since she was 8 weeks old – a tiny scruffy ball of fluff I rescued from the RSPCA. They found her and her brother and sister dumped in a, well a dump, in a terrible state. Who could do that to these tiny little babies?

SCAN0004 2

Her brother and sister were black and white but Spook was pretty much all grey – or blue, if you want to be fancy about it. When the cage was opened at the rescue centre she threw herself at my  jumper. I figured that since she was so pleased to see me, she better come live with me.

That was the end of her bravery though! When I got her home, she sprinted off to hide behind the cooker. As soon as I got her out, she took off up the chimney. A tin of tuna and a lot of waiting convinced her to come down.

My housemate at the time was less amused about our new lodger and informed me that Spook was not coming upstairs until we knew she was housetrained. Well, I couldn’t leave this poor baby alone downstairs, now could I? So I shifted my mattress and duvet downstairs and slept on the floor for a few nights, with my little lady sleeping by my ear. Once she was given the all clear she took to climbing the steep stairs, once bounce at a time, to sleep right on my pillow every night.

SCAN0004 3

Named for her colour, it seemed Spooky was appropriate in more ways than one! What a scaredy cat. Once I moved into my own place she had a back garden all to herself. If she did venture out though, she did it with trepidation. It seems everything in the neighbourhood was out to get her. Seriously, once I saw her sprinting into the house as fast as she could come, being dive bombed by a bird!

Unfortunately the local cats did not take to her either. Maybe it was the accent! Every few weeks we had to take a trip to the vet to have her back end patched up – apparently scaredy cats are easy to spot, their war wounds are all at the tail end as they are always running away, spraining legs and ripping claws in their flight up trees.

In the eight years I lived in that house, she never once let any one stroke her outdoors except me. If I stood on the neighbours path to chat to them, she paced up and down on our side and howled until I came back over. Clearly she felt it was her job to protect me.

All that has changed. Now my Spooky is a warrior cat, hunting and guarding the house every day. And this is how it happened.

When I was expecting Mini Monster 1, Mr G and I moved to his house. Surrounded by fields, the nearest cat to us was at least a half mile away. But Spook was not convinced. Oh no, not my scaredy cat. Now in new territory and with a very pregnant me to worry about, she became convinced she needed to watch over me. She would not go outside, unless I went too. Nope – every day I had to take my cat for a daily walk around the house and garden while she stayed within 5 metres of me the whole time.

For four months.

Until the day I went to the hospital. I kid you not, that cat was listening for me. The moment I went into labour, 20 miles away Spooky demanded to be let out of the house and went a-hunting. Seriously, we know the time, because Mr G was updating my mum who was at my house cat sitting.

We brought MM1 home a day later and Spooky came on over to be introduced. She climbed up onto my lap as she always had, trying to lie between me and the baby. I moved her away and told her ‘no’. She never tried to get in the way of the baby again, always waiting her turn.

She did try to make friends with MM1 though, leaving a dead mouse next to her head while my newborn was lying on her playmat. I am not sure the gesture was truly appreciated.

Since then Spooky has been happy to go prowling outside. She became quite the little hunter, although treading in eviscerated guts on a regular basis has become less amusing. She stopped sleeping in our room whilst the babies were in there, but has now moved back to her rightful position on my bed every night.

She has taken on housemoves, babies, chickens and a puppy. She is an old lady now. Fifteen this year and still beautiful.