Thursday, 21 August 2014

My Favourite Day is Sundae

The weekend before last, before the rain came, and the sun went away, William and I, armed with a shiny shopping trolley and a few vouchers to spend*, had a mad dash around our Waitrose.

It was our own Supermarket Sweep, and the mission? To make an ice cream sundae.

And so, pushing the trolley away from me, as my son shouted: "Weeeeee!" We laughed our way around the aisles. I hadn't made an ice cream sundae since I was small. I remember that they always used to be the thing that we'd order at the end of a meal out - four long sundae spoons, but only two really in action as my brother and I dug around for bits of brownie or the bit with the most strawberry sauce.

The first thing I headed to, were these bright sundae glasses. I'd seen them for the past few months in my local store. And there are just the sort of thing I go for. Bright, quirky, a little old-school. But I'd never picked them up because when I do a food shop, I've a budget. And I spend as little as I can. So there's not always the chance for pink and green sundae glasses, with matching spoons and an ice cream scoop.

And we bought ice cream - chocolate and vanilla - as much as will fit in our little freezer. Vanilla because Mummy loves it. And chocolate because it seems to be my son's favourite word.

We piled in brownie bites and Smarties. Three sauces - raspberry, chocolate and toffee. And we had fresh juicy strawberries too.

I lined everything and picked William up and rested him on my hip. I handed him a glass and asked him: "What would you like? You pick!" And he looked up at me, grinned and asked: "Wiyum's?" And I nodded.

He chose chocolate ice cream, raspberry sauce, and a little toffee too. He helped me to pour it. Added a very select amount of seven Smarties, and several right in his mouth, and then a few strawberries and brownie chunks.

And I let him sit there and use the "BIG SPOON!" And he grinned at me. And promptly covered himself in ice cream. And he was messy. And sticky. But happy.

And I felt special.

His face as he got to choose what he wanted. A little finger, pointing. A little voice saying: "Oh yes pwease Mama!" The offer of a messy spoonful, to try for myself. Which I politely declined. And the sheer joy at seeing him experience brain freeze for the first time.

It was pretty special.

And me? That'll be two scoops of vanilla, a couple of brownie chunks, some strawberries and chocolate sauce please.

My favourite day is always Sundae. Sonday. Sunday.

*Thank you Waitrose. For providing us with a wonderful sugar high, and a special memory to treasure too.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014


When you come round to our house, you can most definitely expect to see me, William, Elsa and Gatsby. And, for the most part, Mark too.

Our family has grown. From two, to four, and now five.

And when he's here, in truth, it really does feel like home. He's probably here for the majority of the week now. Something that has happened gradually over the past few months. I remember introducing William and Mark to each other for the first time and Mark and I knew that it would be make or break. But he's not left our side since. 

And I love him for it. 

I really do. 

And it's not like he lives five minutes down the road. We actually, at the moment, live 45 miles apart. 

It's far. And I don't always appreciate how far it is, because we work together. 

He'll drive, or get the train as normal and then we'll leave work together and go back to William who we'll collect as soon as we arrive back in our village. 

Slowly my house has started to have male touches around it again. I know for a fact that there's a razor in my bathroom and three toothbrushes, not two. There's a Preston North End coaster on my bedside table and dining table. And I've had to clear out some space in a room that had become very much mine. 

And it feels really right for us. William is happy. And we are happy. And it's a great comfort to know that this person, who I put a lot of faith in, has made such a difference to our lives. 

And while it may be a small thing, when House of Fraser asked me if I'd like to review something for the man in my life, I thought for a moment and said yes. There was something he definitely needed. 

And that was a bag. A Fred Perry Classic Barrel Bag* to be exact. One big enough to throw his things into, but not too big to carry or fit in the boot or on the train. And one that looked nice. And removed the need for plastic bags, or a bag so stuffed that the strap broke. 

No one will ever take the place of William's father, who is wholly present in his son's life. But I want to be happy now. I deserve that. And I get to choose someone to help me raise that little boy, in this new way, Mark would be it. When he's here, our family, as new and as disjointed as it may seem, is complete. 

And I'm glad to say that there'll be a point, in the future, where that bag will have a different use. 

*We were kindly given this to review. And what started out as something nice for him, became an opportunity to say, very nervously, that I'm happy. And that, however you feel about joint-custody and modern families, that I hope you'll be happy for me too. 

Living Room Makeover - Part 3

If you follow me on Instagram (I'm @CharlTaylor if you wanted to know), you'll probably have seen me share a few snaps of my little collection, as and when I've come across new bits and bobs.

I've had to buy in stages, as it's easier for me to spread the cost out, and it's quite fun to buy something every week or so, and look forward to watching my collection grow.

I've not updated on our lounge for a while, because, well, I'm not that much further on. Work has been very busy recently, and I've been travelling a fair bit for me, which has left me behind on this blog and my house, as I'm just too tired to do anything else.

Next week, William is spending a long weekend with his dad and grandparents and I know that he'll be having the best time, so, while he's not here, instead of feeling glum, Mark and I are going to attack the lounge and strip some more paper after work. I still think we'll need a couple of days to get this God-awful stuff off my walls, but once it's done, my Mum and Gramps will be lending a hand with lining paper (seems funny to take stuff off to put new stuff on, but that's uneven walls for you) and then it's time for paint.

The sofa arrives at the end of September, so, while William is with his Dad again, after our holiday, Mark and I will be sorting a carpet out, as well as furniture and furnishings and goodness knows what else. But we really need to get this done! This post is actually scaring me a little - I've a lot of time and money to spend in the new few weeks.

For now, to save my heart, I thought I'd share some of my little collection, as I love seeing posts like this, and hopefully you will too.

Before I get into details, a theme that is coming from all of this is yellow. I don't think it's going to be the colour of the room by any means, but I'm loving picking up little yellow accents, whether it's a pillow case or a postcard. It's my favourite colour, and I want it to feature in our living room without it looking like the sun threw-up in there. I seem to warm to aqua and teal colours too, as you'll note from my spare room. And I have added black and white, because of the chalkboard fireplace, which I want to feel part of the room and not too bold and stark.

The cushion covers above (folded) are from H&M. I could have bought ten of them but no one needs that many pillows. Not even me. I'm going to buy the cushion padding from IKEA when we go in September. So much cheaper than anywhere else.

The chalkboard was something I happened across in a local village shop. It was reduced by £14.99 to just £10.00, so of course it came home, balanced on the buggy. I think I'll use it for movie nights as a 'Now Showing' board, or maybe to share tonight's menu with some grumpy teenagers as I grow older. But you know me - sucker for a chalkboard (have you seen my chalkboard tutorial by the way?).

I bought some postcards from Not On The High Street - gosh they have some amazing things on there don't they? I just had a browse and ended up with some quotes from The Great Gatsby - a nod to my most bizarre cat (I'll have to find Elsa something soon) - the yellow 'Hello' card, from The Happy Pencil, and the quote below, from Ernest Hemingway.

That's a motto I can live by.

That's all I've got to share for now. But I'll have more soon hopefully. I just need to crack on...

P.S. I'm still looking for the stag's head. I haven't had chance to have a nosey around any shops yet.

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