Rolling, swimming and writing

A week ago Charlie rolled over for the first time.  He had been so close for a while but finally managed to get his arm free. He is unstoppable now! Straight over as soon as I put him down! His neck is high, and he’s trying to pull himself forward and roll back again. As it happens I also got his discharge letter yesterday. He has been to see a paediatrician because our doctor was worried about his tone. In particular his neck lagged. Nothing to worry about but they gave us an open appointment should we have concerns.  Fitting that the discharge came in the same week he rolled over!

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Looking very proud of himself!

Harry is loving school still and always the first one in! He’s been practicing Christmas songs for the nativity all the time. And he’s finally pooing on the toilet. So happy and proud of him! He also did really well in his swimming lessons today and next week he’ll be starting to go on a Saturday instead as a place became available so one more thing sorted in terms of starting back to work! Oh and we made an awesome knight’s castle – almost a shame Father Christmas is bringing him one too!

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And NaNoWriMo is going fabulously! On 45,000 words so I’m hoping for 75,000 by the end of the month, maybe more. Book 4 was originally going to be two books and I can see why now! I am surprisingly in two minds now about how it is all going to end, despite having written the ending already I can see another option. But that’s probably a good thing as there is a spark of hope.

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Half-term and other fun

Once again time has passed me by and it has been a week since my last update. In that time I have had my sister to stay, which was as lovely as always, and started NaNoWriMo. Because yes, it is that time of year.

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Charlie and my sister during lunch at the deli.

It is also bonfire night. As I feed Charlie I can hear Harry getting very excited about the fireworks outside. I’m not sure how well he can see them but for someone who has never seen a firework before I don’t think that matters. I wanted to take him to the uni display this year but James was away and thinking about it,  Harry is very sensitive to noise so I’m not sure he’d have been ready for it.

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We had a brilliant half term. We were all worn out by the weekend having filled our days at the soft play area (including a Frozen day complete with Anna, Elsa and Olaf impersonators) and the park, then quiet craft time at home. Our project was a treasure chest which kept us very busy as once we’d made the chest we needed to fill it. So necklaces, crowns, daggers…

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This week I have confirmed starting back at work at the end of February.  Mainly though I have been concentrating on my writing. I made it to 15,000 words today and I have the flow going nicely.  Certainly making up for last year! Hoping for 25,000 by the weekend and perhaps the end of book 3. I decided this year to finish what I abandoned last year and when that is done to finish book 4.

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I should update more often while putting Charlie to bed!

Mint chocolate lip balm

A spare half an hour while waiting for James to come home so I couldn’t resist trying out my new lip balm tubes which finally arrived yesterday complete with vegetable peeler.

The following recipe is an adaptation of one of my earliest attempts. Each recipe I have done so far has a basic 2 parts beeswax to 3 parts cocoa butter to 5 parts oil and then added extras. My mint chocolate is as follows:

1tsp beeswax
1.5 tsp cocoa butter
2 tsp sweet almond oil
0.5tsp vitamin e oil
0.5tsp 100% chocolate
5 drops peppermint essential oil

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Everything but the peppermint was added to the bain marie until it melted.

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Then I stirred in the peppermint and quickly poured into the tubes.

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This quantity usually does a tub but I got out two tubes as I thought it would go further – it probably would have done a third but the tubs were quicker to get to!  The lip balm sets really quickly so I couldn’t faff about!

Excited to try this one. My first attempt was with milk chocolate so very creamy and I didn’t have anything in it to preserve it – interesting to see those now that don’t have vitamin e in! Still usable but they gone all bobbly. 

On another exciting note the deli finally has its honey supplier back so I can get their lovely honey and beeswax again. The beeswax is such a unique colour.

Lavender hand cream

Making things is becoming a bit of an obsession. Ever since I rekindled my candle making hobby I am unstoppable. Soaps, then bath bombs, and when I realised that I had all the ingredients from those to make basic lip balm, that was next on my list. But there is only so much soap and lip balm a person can use, so Christmas presents are sorted. Except, they’re not. I want them to be as fresh as possible so I won’t start making them until December. So what do I do in the meantime? Well, I looked up hand cream recipes!

There were several I wanted to try, but one stood out – not least because I had all the ingredients, and it didn’t require freezing and whisking. Sweet almond oil, coconut oil, olive oil, beeswax and lavender essential oil make up the hand cream. I also added a few drops of vitamin e oil as it has the benefits of prolonging its life (as oils like sweet almond oil are fragile they can go rancid after a few months but with the vitamin e it should last for around six months although it will be long gone by then…).

It was so simple to make. I halved the recipe and the quantity made fitted perfectly in one of my empty Lush facemask tubs. It is, not surprisingly, really oily so a little goes a long way and I’m glad I didn’t make the whole mix! I patted my hands dry after applying it, which I do even with hand creams that aren’t very oily because I can’t stand the initial feel of them, but even so it sunk in quickly and my hands feel amazing. The predominant scent is coconut despite adding the suggested amount of lavender, although there are subtle undertones. But of course, as with any recipe like this you can experiment with different essential oils and also different base/carrier oils. (I should probably wait until I’ve finished this hand cream though.)

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The recipe can be found here.

Where has the time gone?

I can’t believe it is two months since my last post. I am sitting in Caffè Nero with Charlie on my lap and typing this on my phone so it is rather slow. Not as slow as the laptop would be though. Charlie generally lets me get on with my work but he’s feeling a bit sorry for himself today! He is showing signs of teething, poor baby.

August was a busy month getting ready for school and going on various trips away. We covered a lot of the country as usual and did lots of new and old things. We particularly tried to make it special for Harry. Highlights were Chester Zoo, West Lodge Rural Centre where Harry had his first ever horse ride, Granny’s 90th birthday with all the family, and watching the jousting at Bolsover Castle.

It was then school for Harry! He has settled in very well and making fantastic progress with his speech and phonetics. He is always singing new songs. PE is his favourite and he has started to mention a couple more boys other than Billy and Thomas. Pooing also had a miraculous turn around the week before school started and he has only had a couple of accidents, he just needs reminding to go.

James is now a senior lecturer and is ten times as busy as ever. I have done another thorough edit of my book and sent it off for the Chicken House children’s fiction competition. I have also applied for a Masters. Now trying to arrange returning to work stuff while finally getting round to sorting photos! We just got back from a great castle  filled weekend in the Welsh Marches and now it’s next stop Christmas!
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Here’s what Charlie thinks of me writing blog posts!

General updates

It’s been a while since my last post. James has been home a lot more but he has been back to normal (ish) this week, so I too have been able to get into something of a routine, although it has been slow-going and I have had to battle the tiredness somewhat. Tonight though I finally succeeded in finishing editing my first three chapters based on the feedback I had received and have sent off two submissions. I was keen to get some sent off tonight as James is home tomorrow night and then on Sunday we are away for a couple of weeks (Granny’s 90th in Cambridge, James is working in Oxford then visiting the in-laws in Devon stopping via Stonehenge on the way and a side-trip to Dorset).

Charlie is doing well. He had his six-week check with the health visitor today and now weighs 12lb 5oz (he has gone from the 50th percentile to the 75th, the chubby chops, but weight gain like that is supposedly normal with breastfed babies). We also had our check-up with the doctor last Friday. Charlie ticked a couple of the ‘referral’ boxes so we have to go and see a pediatrician. He has only one palm crease on each hand which can sometimes be a sign of an underlying issue, and he is also ridiculously chilled out for a six-week-old (of course, that could just be his personality, but getting him referred is precautionary).

I’ve been trying my best to keep Harry busy these past couple of weeks now we have run out of visitors. I was getting a bit tired of going to Mini Monsters everyday (even though all I have to do is sit with a cup of coffee and read while he plays it can be exhausting). But I have managed to find lots of summer holiday activities. We have been going twice a week to the library for various reading and craft sessions (he has also now got his own library card which he is loving!) and James took him to an animal handling session at the museums where they got to see, touch and hold snakes, spiders, lizards, frogs and more. I’m glad James was able to take him as I wouldn’t have liked it much and couldn’t have taken Charlie anyway.

I also talked to the health visitor again about Harry’s pooing but she didn’t really say anything she hadn’t said before. The thing is, up until Monday Harry had got into a routine. He was having proper poos every other day and even went twice on the potty. He had also stopped kicking up a fuss each time I asked him to sit on the potty. But all this week he has reverted. I was harsh again and I made him sit on it for over an hour this afternoon. It seemed to work the last time so we’ll see how he is tomorrow and while we’re away. If not, here’s to hoping school will do the trick! He now has all his uniform bar the bits we can buy from the school when we go for an informal meeting on the 28th, we have even booked him swimming lessons starting in September! By the time I post next he might have even started school as the rest of this month is hectic :-D.

Warm up

Maybe this is a bad idea but I am just going to type. My boys are asleep and my plan for the evening is to finish editing the first two chapters of my book following the critique I received from a publisher. Naturally though, as soon as I stare into the computer my eyes feel very heavy. But they will not get the better of me. This is my time to write. The first evening – well, any time, really – that I have had alone in quite a while, and I know I won’t get a chance again like this for a while. So let us call this blog post a warm up and when it is done I will return to my book and get the editing finished with a far less hazy mind. After which I can think of sleep.

I have taken to spending evenings like this in utter silence. TV does not go on at all and even the CDs stay in the drawer. But, I fancied a little music to work with tonight. Sometimes the silence does get too much. Sometimes there is too much noise in my head that I can’t drown it out. So I looked through the drawer of CDs. They are a mess. The DVDs are too. Harry likes looking at them. To be fair, he doesn’t wreck them like he used to so we have no need of putting them out of his reach (though I swear nothing is out of his reach). But they do need a mega sort out, and certain things do need hiding from him now he knows how to use the DVD player (what is it with kids and technology?). He is adamant he wants to watch Jaws. And Silence of the Lambs. His synopsis of Jaws is something to do with a girl going swimming and eating a whale.

As for the CDs, I don’t even know what I have anymore. I was searching through trying to find something to suit my mood – I wanted something to fill the silence but not to upstage it; something I wouldn’t be inclined to sing along to. Eventually I found Dido ‘Safe Trip Home’. It is the one I often find on evenings like this and for good reason. There is a song on it called ‘Quiet Times’ and that sums it up, but actually the whole album is like that. It is music for those Quiet Times. I got the CD for my Birthday one year and we listened it in the car as we drove to my parents late Christmas Eve that year. It always take me back there.

Musings over, back to work. I will finish this tonight. I will.