Talk About Cheesecake

Musings, meanderings and meditation for my mind.

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Project Optimism – Let’s get past the Pants

It’s only lunchtime and I feel like today has been a bit up, a bit down.

It started well. The sun was streaming through the windows right into my face. (I’ll be having a word with Mr G about shutting the darn curtains at night!) and I woke up to find some new comments on my post from the lovely Maddie who has been MIA for a bit. She explains why in her post When Blogging Takes a Backseat.

Maddie is right on the other side of the world to me, so I guess she may have been on her way to bed as I was waking up to start the school run. Either way, it meant she was online and responding as I commented back. How amazing is that! Chatting to someone thousands of miles away with such ease. Sometimes the internet just amazes me.

Of course, then we start the ‘get the kids dressed in time for school’ game. By the time we got past Botboy’s morning refusal of the 1st 4 pairs of pants I show him because of their colour, his absolute meltdown at the idea of brushing his teeth and moved on to pulling him out from behind the chair by an ankle so I could reach his face with a flannel, the day was going downhill.

Botboy has a real problem with pants. I bought him some fab, colourful ‘Big Boy’ boxer shorts as a reward when he went fully nappy free. We picked them out together. Superman, Moshi Monsters, Animal – he chose a selection of characters. He was delighted. We got home. He has refused to wear them.

Not even once. 


Then it’s Sackgirl’s turn. She is getting herself dressed. Very slowly. Seriously, why do kids need to sit on the floor to get dressed. She sits down to go through a drawer to find her school clothes. She sits down while taking off her PJ’s. She sits down while trying to put on her skirt! Surely standing up would make that easier?

Then I discover that, despite last weeks discussion about why wiping snot on the ceiling is not showing respect for her bedroom or our house, she has proceeded to sharpen a pencil during the night. Without using a bin. Because the floor was adequate!

Mood is turning south at this point.

I’ll move past the breakfast debacle. I got the kids to school – then realised that they had both jumped into the cars without coats. “Because it’s sunny, mummy.” Let’s hope they are inside when the huge black cloud in the distance reaches us!

That’s when everything seemed to get really pants.

I do like the use of the word pants as an adjective. It’s so clear in it’s meaning, despite being absolutely unrelated to anything to do with underwear. The Urban Dictionary does clarify that use of pants as an adjective is British for rubbish! While looking that up, I just learnt that in the US it’s a derogatory term to inflict a crushing defeat or crushing criticism on someone. I’m going with the British meaning here – things seemed rubbish, but not crushingly so!

Firstly, a mum at the school gates informed me that a committee with whom I am loosely associated had to settle on some employment matter. This means a financial cost to some parents who, at the beginning, had just been volunteers trying to set up some after school care to help out our kids. I am gutted – they were doing a good thing and it has cost them. The person who has taken the money did not deserve a penny, being, in my mind, at least 90% responsible. Now that is pants.

Then I went to drop Botboy at his nursery, only to find that his usually cheerful carer was in floods of tears over a personal matter. It did put me on a bit of a downer. Not nice to see people we like upset!

And finally I sat back in my car, flipped on the news and heard about another shooting in the US at a Mother’s Day parade. I’m not about to join the debate on guns in the US, I don’t live there, I don’t know enough about it. But I am glad it’s not a way of life here in the UK! There were kids shot. Again.

The daily dog walk with the uncontrollable puppy always cheers me up. It’s warmer now the spring is here, bluebells are out in the wood and fresh air lifts the mood wonderfully.

Bluebells in the wood
Bluebells in the wood

Until 10 minutes after we got home, it lashed down with rain again.

Seriously – this is my view. Not even my rainbow maker will be putting out today!

Lashing down with rain.
Lashing down with rain.

BUT – this is a post about Optimism. So let’s get past the pants and look for the good things.

1. My kids are safe. I know that’s selfish. But when I think about the shootings in the US it makes me hug my kids that much harder. So there was snot on the ceiling and shards of pencil on the floor. Really, that’s not such a big deal!

2. I got to spend my morning walking my puppy through beautiful woodland before coming home to sit in my office. On my own time. Eighteen months ago I would have had to drop the kids at a childminders hours before school started to hit rush hour traffic in order to get to my windowless desk at the bank in time. This is not a bad life!

3. I have not had a call this morning about something personal that has made me break down in tears. If you have, I hope you had someone there to hug you.

No matter how pants (British = rubbish) the day is, somewhere not far away someone else is having a day that is truly more pants (American = crushingly so). Look for the good things around you and share the optimism, people!

This post was written as part of Project Optimism. Other great blogs who take part are WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion and The Best Life

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Project Optimism: It’s never too late

On Saturday night Mr G and I went for a rare, child free night out. We had a good evening with some friends,  I test drove a new flavour cocktail (can’t remember what it was and hopefully won’t be trying it again) and enjoyed some time examining the fashion of the youth of today. Call me old (really, don’t; it makes me very grumpy) but if I can see your piercing, your shorts are too tight!

The most chocolatey day of the year dawned. Rather earlier than intended for me in fact, since recently my hangovers seem to coincide with an amazing amount of stomach acid which wakes me up bright and painfully.

As I wandered bleary-eyed around the bathroom looking for some stomach settlers, there was a sudden bolt of light in my brain. Wincing, I shut the curtain again. And that’s when it hit me. Today was Easter Sunday. That fabulous day when the magical bunny breaks into our homes, presumably with the skill of a cat burglar, and deposits chocolatey goodness on the kids beds.

The kids beds.

Chocolatey goodness.

Easter Sunday.

Bugger. Panic.

I stumbled into the bedroom and rooted frantically through the cupboard until I found the kids eggs. Then I snuck into their room and in a synchronised movement performed with the skill and finesse of a martial arts expert, I launched an egg into position at the foot of MM1’s bed while diving below eye level to place one beside MM2’s bed – just as he opened his eyes.

Thus did I once again perform my duties are a mother and maintain the illusion of magic for the children.

And then, with all the love and care that a mother holds clear in my tone I growled, ‘Go back to sleep, it’s early,’ and took my hangover back to bed.

You see, as long as you try, it’s never too late!

This post was written for Project Optimism. Click on the elephant or take a look at my previous posts for more information. You too can join in – because it’s never too late. 


Don’t forget, I’m moving to a new home at I hope you will come join me. 


Check out these related posts –

Project Optimism (AKA Project Overly Optimistic)

Attempting a brain makeover




Project Optimism – Be Happy

I’m tired, it’s late. I have been slogging my – well my fingertips off all day tapping away on my laptop, clearing my workload as today is my end of month for March.

I did it. I got the last piece done – as always.

So now I have time to relax and catch up on some blogs, do some writing, watch some Buffy – and I can’t. I am just bombed. K-nackered. Fried.

But it is Monday.

And you should know by now what that means!

So here is my pop list for today of reasons to be happy.

– My month ended early. This means, despite a rush to complete everything and 4 days of solid stress – my day off came early too. Yay – Buffyfest and writing day tomorrow.

– I finished reading The Giraffe and The Pelly and Me with MM1 tonight, we are going on to George’s Marvellous Medicine tomorrow. Fab – MM1 finally appreciates the amazing Mr Dahl.

– Recipe of the week begins this week – I’ll tell you more about that another time!

– I can go to bed now and have an early cuddle with Mr G!

Hope you all had a happy Monday!


This post has been written for Project Optimism. To read some other fabulous posts try this one all about flamingos or take a look at some snotsicles





Cheesecake sandwiches and zombies

Weekends can be pretty samey round here. Family life is not about partying every weekend, spontaneous weekend getaways and daredevil extreme sports.

Well – I am sure some people do sign up to that and manage to fit it in with picking dirty pants up off the floor and baking 24 cupcakes ready for the school fundraiser. But the majority of us mums just about cope with keeping the house ticking over and the kids growing.

However this weekend was one of new experiences for me, which I thought I would share.

My great mate B came to stay for the weekend. We went through school together from the age of 11, and there is not a lot that can bring two girls closer than enforced sisterhood in boarding school. We bond to survive!

This lady saw me through my first period, acne, blubbering over boys and dealing with the evil witch who was our ‘surrogate mother’ whilst holding us in her merciless care throughout our school years. No matter what, I know she has my back even now. If there was a body to bury, we would do it together. Probably whilst drunk.

So when we get together there is often a mutual sharing fest of wine, memories, laughs, even some sadness maybe.

This weekend B arrived with some chocolate wine. Not something I have tried before – a new experience. We had already arranged to try out an experiment we saw on that font of knowledge known as Facebook – skittle vodka. Basically this involves taking all the red skittles and leaving them to disintegrate in vodka, doing the same with the purple skittles, yellow skittles and so on.

Prepare the skittle vodka, leave for a few hours to dissolve. Drink.

Prepare the skittle vodka, leave for a few hours to dissolve. Drink.

Having prepared our experiment, purely in the name of research you understand, we went shopping for some more new experiences to try.

We found  . . .  chocolate Philadelphia, traditional Mead and mulled cider.

B introduced me to fresh baked bread dipped in melted  Camembert. I introduced her to Philadelphia and Lemon Cheese sandwiches (cheesecake in bread – mmmm).

If you are now sensing a theme for our weekend, it was not all about food and drink you know. Just wait for the ending!

Chocolate wine, traditional Mead, mulled cider and chocolate Philadelphia.

Chocolate wine, traditional Mead, mulled cider and chocolate Philadelphia.

I invented these when I was a child and have loved them ever since. Philadelphia and Lemon Cheese sandwiches. Yummy

I invented these when I was a child and have loved them ever since. Philadelphia and Lemon Cheese sandwiches. Yummy

The outcome – Skittle vodka with lemonade tastes just like, well, skittles. Marks out of 10 – 8. We concluded we need more skittles per inch of vodka. But worth trying again.

Chocolate wine. Conclusion – two items that should never be mixed. Marks out of 10 – 3. It’s drinkable, but if there is skittle vodka around I would choose that anytime.

Traditional Mead – wow. It’s like drinking pure honey. As in, it is so incredible sweet it could melt your teeth as you drank it. Marks out of 10 – 2. I am sure it is drinkable, but even my sweet tooth was wincing.

Unfortunately we did not get around to the mulled cider and we were undecided on the chocolate Philli. I know now that I do not like Camembert, however I have succeeded in converting another friend round to my cheesecake in a sandwich fetish.

I know what you are thinking. You are clearly now of the opinion that we are just about the most suave and sophisticated pair of young women you have ever heard of. Hey – don’t knock it!

So after our experimenting on a Saturday night, we then woke on Sunday bright and early for the next new experience.

We dressed in our best. As in – ripped jeans, dirty T-shirts, holey jumpers and grubby trainers.

And off we went to be zombies for the day.

Yep – on Sunday I tried out being an extra in a movie. Get me!

Well, in the internet trailer for the movie anyway. What a fabulous way to spend a Sunday, covered in blood and gore. Here is a quick picture preview – once the link is ready I will post it. Guess which one is me!

Zombie trailer coming soon. PIcture courtesy of Wasteland Feature Film

Zombie trailer coming soon. PIcture courtesy of Wasteland Feature Film

So I guess today is about trying out new experiences. There is so much out there to try. It doesn’t have to be huge, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Being an extra was unpaid, free fun. The only charge, a little time.

Tell me about a new experience you have had recently – share it, I might just want to try it too.

And if you do nothing else this week, try a cheesecake sandwich. Trust me, you will thank me for it.

This post was brought to you as part of Project Optimism. To find out more, click on that cute little elephant over there on the right or try out the post here 


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?




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!


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.


Project Optimism – A Glimmer of Hope

For Project Optimism this lovely Monday morning, I thought I would touch briefly on how there is invariably a glimmer of hope to be found in every situation, whether it be big or small.

I have mentioned before that I do like Mondays but I have to admit I was not looking forward to today. My weekend had had a number of components to it that had just zapped my expectations of a happy day, starting with the normal Saturday morning screeching and wailing that is my 6 year old being told that she has to tidy her room.

‘But WHY?’ she wails.

‘I don’t mind the mess.’ she cries.

He did it!’ she accuses her 3 year old brother (there may be some truth in that, but it’s not the entire story at all).

‘Why won’t anyone help me.’ she demands.

‘It’s not fair.’

Yes – at 6 we have reached that well known childhood phrase. It’s not fair. Teenagerdoom lurks ahead. (no, that is not a spelling mistake!)

We have tried reasoning, arguing, impassioned sobbing (both her and me). I have attached star charts to fridges, offered pocket money as an incentive, threatened to bin everything on the floor.

On Sunday I ‘helped’ tidy her room and in doing so made a pile of yet more broken toys.

‘Why don’t you look after your things?’ I demand.

She shrugs.

And yes, once again I feel like a total failure as a parent because I have tried bribery and everything else known to parents all over and still my child refuses to clean her room and shows no appreciation for the many things she has.

(I don’t think my child is any more spoilt than the average kid in the UK, but perhaps all of our children these days just have too much!)

She doesn’t understand the time it takes to earn the money to buy the frippery in her room that she so casually stands on, snaps, kicks under the bed or uses as a doorstop.

Is 6 too young to learn this?

I don’t think so. I just am not sure how to go about instilling it.

So – I banned use of my iPad, my phone, daddy’s PS, the TV. All screens were off in this house.

Sunday was a day of play. With actual physical toys. (NO, this does not count as child abuse.)

I issued a new decree in the land of Mummy Rules! And it was thus –

You shall earn your gaming time by doing something good every day that shows you value and care for your things. There shall be no screen until your bedroom is tidy every day.

Yep – I didn’t really expect her to listen either. Or Mr G, or myself for that matter. Because let’s face it – throwing them at a screen is an easy babysitter for us too.

On top of this I have been having some down time about family/friends. I mentioned it briefly here. So I went to bed last night feeling quite tired of it all. Flat.

Which is not like me.

This morning I woke up ready to attack the day, starting with the morning screech and shout to get the kids moving, dressed, fed and ready for school. (Good god, I sound like an awful mother. Perhaps I should give up now.)

I went into my daughter’s room to wake her up.

But she was not in bed.

No – she was tidying her room.


Then, whilst I was in the shower, she dressed herself, brushed her teeth and attempted to brush her hair.

Whilst I was dressing Mini Monster 2, she went and voluntarily  washed her face. Voluntarily!

We ate breakfast, early.

And then Mini Monster 1 turned to me and said ‘Did I do something good now mummy?’

“Yes darling, very good this morning.” I smiled.

“And did you notice I tidied up Mini Monster 2’s toy box too.” she questioned.

“Yes honey,” I lied. Mental note, must go check the box.

“And have I earned some time on the iPad now mummy?”

Yes – it is bribery. Yes – it is materialistic. Yes – it is a computer game.

But I have found a carrot and stick that works and I’m keeping it.

So – the point to this is that just when you think it is time to give up, to stop trying, a glimmer of hope will appear! Just a calm start to the day can make all the difference.

Now – you might think that that is all there is to say.

But no – I have yet to tell you where the optimism comes in.

And this is it – despite all evidence to the contrary, despite knowing that my child has the attention span of a gnat . . .

I am optimistic that this particular carrot will last for at least two whole days before that room is a tip again.

This is all about optimism as part of Project Optimism. Find out more here.


Project Optimism – School is in Session!

I started today’s post completely differently. It began as a rather long winded panic about how many commitments I have on right now and descended into a rant.

I deleted that one. Boring.

So, instead of focusing on the things that need to be done let’s look at the positives.

We have had a four day weekend, thanks to the snow. We had sledging time. Snowball fights. We made snowmen – and a snow lady with oversized breasts (don’t ask!). My family and I have caught snowflakes on our tongues and made snow angels. We have sat in front of the fire with hot chocolate and played PS games. It’s been a happy weekend, full of family time.

I am however optimistic that school will be open tomorrow.

Like most parents, much as I love having my children home with me, I appreciate the time that they go to school and the calm descends on the house. I am looking forward to a return to normality.

Snow, I have decided, is much like camping. Two days of it are great, three days are tiring. Four days are too much!


This post is written as part of Project Optimism. You can find out more here or see some great contributions here and here


I love Mondays – Project Optimism

I love Mondays.

Really, I do.

It is possible that I have a touch of OCD, but I really like order. As a child, my books were categorised. An estate agent once remarked that my laundry cupboard was the tidiest he had ever seen. After Mini Monster 1 was born and I felt totally out of control, with a tiny baby running the house to her own clock, visitors popping in and out, piles of laundry growing like mysterious beasts in the corner, I tidied out my kitchen cupboards.

Yes, you read that right. I locked myself in the kitchen for a full four hours and emptied, washed and re-ordered my condiments. Glasses were placed according to size and type, tins stacked facing forwards so I could read the label.

The thing is, order helps me to feel in control.

I don’t mind surprises, but I do like to know what is going to happen next. Timetables are nice things to have. I planned every detail of my wedding and barely allowed my mother or Mr G a look in (seriously, it was mentioned in his speech).

So, back to my point.

I love Mondays.

Monday morning is the start of a fresh week. The house is tidy, the washing done over the weekend. There are no waiting chores. Mini Monsters go to their respective schools, the house is clutter free. I hate clutter, it makes me grumpy.

Everything is ready for a week of possibility. This could be the week I clear my workload. This could be the week I finish some coursework or discover a wonderful new job opportunity.

A Monday is a beginning and I like beginnings.

Beginnings are tidy, there hasn’t yet been time to go wrong, be distracted. Beginnings are the very start of something new and exciting, they can grow into great ideas, wonderful chances.

Mondays are the day we often use to tackle something different. Maybe we will give up smoking, start a diet, begin an exercise routine to better ourselves. Perhaps on a Monday we start school, enter new employment, go out to a new club and meet new friends. 

Which means a Monday is a day of optimism. A day of anticipation, expectation.

I am a naturally optimistic person – a glass half full kind of girl. I don’t like to dwell on negative possibilities, I believe in waiting to see what will happen and generally I believe things work out for the best. Or at least, for a reason.

(Is this a belief in fate? Do optimism and fate go hand in hand? I think I have an idea for next weeks post – what do you think?)

Why am I writing this?

So – this is a post about Mondays, but also a post about optimism. I wanted to put this together and join in a brilliant and inspirational new idea that began with Anka, Anita and WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion called Project Optimism.

The rules for this were fairly simple – one of them was to link to their starting post – here. I managed that.

Another was to post on Mondays. Erm – I love Mondays, did I mention that. But, today is Tuesday. Because I was just so busy being all optimistic and starting new things yesterday I didn’t get round to starting this one. So I hope they will forgive me for joining in a day out of sync – and forgive me again over and over as no doubt I will be appallingly bad at hitting that particular rule spot on.

However, I am optimistic that I will be able to post often, if not on Mondays.

So – if you would like to join in this wonderful idea and start your week with a happy kick, pop on over to the ladies blogs above, check out those rules and join in.

(Oh – and did I mention that if you join in you get one of the cutest little pictures of a monkey optimistically catching a two ton elephant. Which may be partly why I joined in, but shhh, don’t tell them.)