Monday, 26 November 2012

Meal Plan Monday

Monday again, and with my new resolution to blog every week here I am!

Monday - shepherds pie (technically cottage pie)
Tuesday - nachos (yum!)
Wednesday - pasta bolognese
Thursday - soup, cheese twists and chunky bread
Friday - fajitas
Saturday - lasagne
Sunday - roast dinner (not sure what yet though)

My children seem to be on yet another growth spurt and are eating me out of house and home at the moment, so trying to slow them up with stodge!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A whole year!

While faffing about with my blog on my phone, I realised Unstable is a whole year old!

This is pretty amazing really, as I rarely stick to anything for very long. It is not that I'm particularly flaky, more that I get a bit disheartened when things don't go quite to plan.

It is not as if this had been a roaring success, I'm sure the people who follow this do so in return for me following their blogs. But I actually don't mind, I'm not really doing this for anyone but myself, and if I get a comment it is just like a bonus! Unstable is just somewhere I can escape mentally (maybe not so much now that my husband follows it ;D )


I now have Blogger on my phone, so if it works, I will be able to blog much more easily...

Monday, 19 November 2012

My Meal Plan Monday

Monday Meal Plan blog posts are quite popular, so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and give it a go. I figured it would at the very least get me back to my poor neglected blog a bit more often.

I nearly aways meal plan, I can't remember a time when I haven't had a vague meal plan in mind when I went shopping.

So, here is this weeks:

Monday Jacket potatoes with beans and cheese
Tuesday Chicken and Ham pie
Wednesday Ikea Meatballs, oven chips and peas
Thursday Tuna Pasta Bake
Friday Homemade Burgers with salad and relish
Saturday Homemade pizza (well, dough made in the breadmaker, sort of homemade)
Sunday Roast of some sort

So, there you have it, my first Meal Plan Monday. Not very inspiring, and very little that could be called 'cooking' but I am trying to empty the freezer before doing a big shop at the weekend (that is my excuse and I am sticking it!)


Another Monday morning has rolled around alarmingly fast. We have had a busy weekend full of birthday parties and tired, grumpy children. Also, the usual laundry mountain, Mount Washmore, has almost doubled in size.

I have been pretty slack on the blog front recently, but I have some really good excuses reasons; firstly, my wonderful husband bought me the Hunger Games Trilogy, so that was a whole weekend lost. Then I have been trying desperately to get my mare ready for hunting, throw a half term into the mix and some patchy internet (thanks Virgin) and the blog has been thoroughly neglected.  But I do have some posts coming up, and a plan (I always have plans) on how to keep blogging more regularly. In fact, this should be the first of two posts today!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Creative Childcare Solutions

It is a struggle to find the time to do stuff when you have kids. Some Parents are fortunate enough to have doting Grandparents on their doorstep, more than willing to help out with childcare, but for most of us, it is a case of making do without.
My days get full pretty quickly with feeding, dressing, feeding again, entertaining, feeding some more, and putting children to bed. Add to this the school runs, the cooking, laundry and actually spending some time with my children, and I am not left with much time for myself. I do the horses once a day (thanks to the wonderful set up we have at our yard) which is my own time and I need so desperately. This has always worked so well as I would schedule my visit to the yard to coincide with my children's nap time. They would sleep in the car on the yard, while I had some time away from being just a mummy. It was always a struggle to get everything done during nap time, but if I had managed to lunge one horse for 10mins, as well as the mucking out, it was a good day.
During the Summer months when we have long, light evenings, I could get the yard jobs done during the day, then go back to ride in the evening while my husband would eat dinner with the kids and get them to bed. It is not an option at this time of year though. Added to the fact that my 2yr old son no longer naps every day, and for less than an hour if he does, I am woefully short on horse hours. Time to get creative with my childcare......
I could put my son to work. 
I could strap him to a pony while I ride alongside.
Although, I could really do with one of these
That could be frowned upon though, seeing as I don't actually have a pony, so he would be strapped to an ex-racehorse instead..... So, the next best option was to see if anyone fancied a bit of a child swap. There seem to be quite a few of my friends up for this (Yay!) This means that tomorrow I have the best part of 3hours to myself to play ponies, I can't wait! 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Coping Strategies

I have two methods of coping with stressful situations - First of all I feel the need to hide away from it all, stay holed up in my bed under the duvet, sleeping lots and avoiding everything and everyone. Denial I guess. My other coping strategy is to cook. Somehow I feel that if the freezer is well stocked with wholesome, homemade meals, all will be well.

I am currently planning on stocking up the freezer....

Today has been our worst day for a very long time, possibly ever.
My husband's car had to be towed to the garage by the RAC before 9.30am, my car was in the garage already having an extensive (read 'expensive') service, our computer/entertainment system had stopped working and may never recover. Not a great morning, but what can you do?

My husband gets the news from the garage that his car is dead. This is stressful and my husband is now desperate for a new car. His job requires a car, it is impossible without, and anyone who has had their car go wrong unexpectedly understands that awful feeling.

We decide we will have a good chat about it all once the children are in bed, and head up to the yard to put the horses to bed. When we get there we find my mare is colicky - just what we need.

It has been one of those days where you are just waiting for the next thing to go wrong. Last week was pretty shite, but this week had been a good one so far. Bollocks.

I am going to finish my giant bar of Dairy Milk and then start a shopping list (a frugal one)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


Not having the best week. Sunday was promising, a nice amble round the countryside on my mare, followed by drinks in a (pretty rough, admittedly) pub with my friends in the evening. Monday was pretty shite though.

We get my daughter to school just in time, only for me to look down and notice something crawling in her hair - she has nits. Fab. She has just started school, so this is the first time we have had to deal with them. I promptly turned her round back out of the school gates and headed straight for Boots, where I had an enlightening discussion with the pharmacist about killing the little feckers. He recommended the Nitty Gritty comb as the very best thing available. I was leaning towards the electronic comb to electrocute the dirty, blood sucking bastards. The pharmacist assured me that as I was planning on running the hair straighteners over my daughter's hair, it would be overkill (quite literally) So, Nitty Gritty it was!

After the de-nitting was done, and my daughter had beautifully smooth, nit free (and very straight) hair, we had to dash off to the chiropractor for my appointment, armed with a (Cath Kidston) handbag full of cars and Octonauts toys to keep my two children vaguely quiet while I was straightened out.

Forty five minutes later, we were on our way home, me straighter and slightly poorer, the kids a bit bored and getting hungry.

We had a very quiet couple of hours before doing the horses, but by the evening the boy was grumpy because he is teething and the girl was manic as she hadn't had enough exercise, I was feeling quite fragile and in desperate need of a glass of wine, but that would have to wait because we had the rest of us to check for nits.

Not one nit between the rest of us (surely pure luck!) which would suggest they came from school, and because I broadcast it to everyone who comes into contact with my daughter (we do NOT want them back) it will be assumed that my daughter is the one who gave everyone nits. Not a great start to school life!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Outing Tomorrow!

Yay! We are taking the horses out tomorrow, to a non competitive endurance ride. It is exciting to be going out.

Today most of the day was spent at the yard making the horses look like they belong to someone, scraping an inch of grot off of the tack and finding all the bits and bobs we need for tomorrow.

I was cursing the horses for growing so much mane, until I realised the last time I pulled them was in June - Oops!

Now everthing is ready, I am just hoping that the rains holds off until we finish unlikely 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Goodbye Summer

It looks as though Summer is well and truly over. And, in perfect British weather tradition, it hasn't faded out gradually, but come screaming to a halt! To be fair, our Winters are not so harsh that we need much in the way of preparation, but a little warning would be nice.

I have a list of things I really need to do before the weather turns - get the horses rugs mended, get the thermostat reset on the central heating, get the chimney swept (I'm sure there has been a bird nesting in there) buy my son a new duvet, and dig out the winter clothes. I'm sure there are more....

Today I became aware of the weather change for a few reasons, firstly my feet felt very cold in ballet pumps, secondly I was anxious to find my fleece headband/ear warmer, and finally I had to wear gloves to do the horses.

Time to swap the polo shirts for polo necks, to start putting on a sweater as a matter of course and to fight my natural urge to hibernate.

But, there are some things to look forward to. I love Christmas (well, the build up anyway!) and it being dark and cold outside, while inside you are toasty and warm. I love the excuse to wrap up instead of bearing my (rather wobbly) flesh, and of sitting down to stews, and mash potato.

Also, I am hoping to take the mare hunting this year and this is very exciting, we haven't been since before the children which was nearly 6yrs ago. We are bound to have forgotten how to behave!

My husband and I are doing an endurance ride at the weekend, but I am starting to worry how I will keep the horses going over the winter - I have already noticed a difference to the time I have in the evenings due to the fading light. Now that my son is down to less than an hours nap a day I am finding time increasingly tight.

May be time to start looking at our daily routine to see what we can change/juggle to make life a bit easier, also need to look at ways to make the Winter easier - there must be something?

Monday, 16 July 2012

The No Snacking Plan

On my mission to quit evening snacking I have come up with a few ideas to keep my hands busy:

  • Blog (obviously)
  • Facebook (very easy to get sucked in and keep you away from the kitchen)
  • Sewing nametapes into school uniform. My daughter starts school in September and I may have gone slightly overboard with the amount of uniform I bought. But that is a lot of sewing of nametapes (and you can watch telly at the same time)
  • Have a soak in the bath, with a book preferably. It is virtually impossible to snack in the bath, despite what Cadburys may think - remember the Flake advert?
  • Housework - this is dull and hardly worth a mention.
  • Clean tack. This is good if you take your tack home with you, and you could watch a film at the same time.
  • Learn a dressage test - I always need to 'draw' the test route, so snacking is not an option.
  • Ironing - technically housework, but it is a bit of a novelty in this house, so may yet happen.
  • Learn to Knit or Crochet (unlikely)

That is all I've got so far, but if anyone thinks of any others I will be grateful.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Blogging for Weightloss

I have got into a bad habit recently of spending the evenings slumped in front of the telly watching crap and snacking. Some of this is my husband's fault. He is tall and ridiculously slim and due to his job often misses meals, so lives in a constant calorie deficit. He likes to snack in the evenings - oven chips with mayo, cheese and crackers, ice-cream straight from the tub - nothing healthy or helpful to those of us who are weak willed and a bit chubbly.

I have tried diets, the most successful was a Low Carb bootcamp style diet, but the problem is I like food and having always been in active jobs I have never had to be too careful with what I eat. Now I am a mum and no longer working 12hr days mucking out and riding four or more horses I have to be more careful.

Dieting is dull. Being on a diet can make you dull, all you think about is food - what you can/can't eat, what you would like to eat, what you can substitute certain foods for. It can get obsessive, and to be honest I feel that is very unhealthy.

So, my new plan is to blog in the evenings. Two birds with one stone - I get to blog more often and I can't snack very easily while typing.

What could possibly be easier?

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Back to Work (well kind of)

Oops! Just sat down with my laptop and looked at my blog - a whole month since I was last here. I have meant to blog, but with one thing and another it just hasn't happened, and to be perfectly honest there has been nothing very interesting to write about. We have had days out, days in and one trip to the hospital (knowing my son, likely to be the first of many)

But, half term is over and real life will be restarting tomorrow. This means the horses (one very fat one) will have a bit of a rude awakening. We have another ride planned for 1st July, 20 miles this time, so a bit of work is needed, not just for the horses.....

Both horses lunged today, and I will be hacking out tomorrow evening, hopefully a bit more to blog about soon.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Our first outing!!!

Finally! We took our horses out for an outing in our own trailer, and it was a success <little happy dance> The occasion? A 15mile Charity Ride.

As with everything, the 'relaxed' trip out required a lot of planning and organisation..... So, on Saturday we had horses to exercise and scrub (the gelding is naturally.a filthy beast) tack to clean, numnahs to wash, trailers to check, and an enormous amount of stuff to pack up - hats, boots, gloves, body protectors, water container, buckets, first aid kit and Polos to name a few.

Of course, having small children, the organisation did not stop there. We had to double check we had childcare, make sure there was something yummy for the babysitter for lunch and to leave the house in a decent(ish) state.

On Sunday morning we were 'lucky' enough to be woken by our son at 5.45am - no chance of oversleeping! We left the house at 9am armed with sandwiches, cans of coke and clean numnahs. The sun was shining!

The horses had been left in so they (well, the gelding) didn't get muddy. This turned out to be a mistake as both were very wound up. They had some mild sedation for travelling and we loaded up.

Both travelled amazingly well. When we unloaded, the mare looked very pleased to be out somewhere and the gelding was a bit of a knob to be perfectly honest! We managed to tack up and could get straight going, which was lucky as I don't imagine either of them would have taken too kindly to hanging around.

It was FABULOUS! Lots of long grassy tracks for some fun gallops canters, some wooded tracks and a little stream to cross (ok, so it was little more than a puddle) The horses were very well behaved for most of the ride, but half way round the mare got a bit cross and stressy. This meant snatching and jig-jogging, though to be fair to her, we were on a track with horses in front going quite slowly and some behind messing around - who wouldn't get wound up? We covered just over 15miles, the last 5 were the best in terms of good tracks and less horses but the worst in terms of aching muscles. We completed in just under 3 hours.

The horses were very sweaty, but still full of life at the end. They must have been tired though, as they actually stood tied to the trailer sharing, actually sharing a haynet.!

Travelling home went very well, and with no sedation (Yay!!!)

The mare and gelding spent the rest of the day out in a grassy field, before coming in to a good brush, a clean bed, plenty of hay and a well deserved feed. We had to rush home to relieve the babysitter, and get our daughter to a birthday party. Burger King for dinner followed by a hot bath, painkillers and wine. The most impressive part? We can still walk today just

Monday, 7 May 2012

A trailer based breakthrough, and a little bit of stupidity

My Darling Husband and I have been planning on doing some fun rides with a view to doing some endurance (his idea, not really my thing) but as yet, nothing much has actually happened. We are very good at talking about things, about planning and even going as far as to write the dates on the calender. But that is it. When it comes down to actually doing stuff we are woefully bad.

To be fair, the horses are not always particularly helpful. You may remember our travelling problems. But here, we have had a breakthrough! We have been putting the mare in the trailer and feeding her copious amounts of polos and it seems to have paid off, for on Saturday, we travelled her round the village in the trailer with very little nonsense from her. Admittedly, she had been given the horse equivalent of a double gin and tonic and more polos, but Hurray! So, on Sunday we tried the same, but with the gelding in there too. There was the odd little bit of stupidity (from us, we loaded them in, then realised we hadn't undone the trailer door, so had to unload one horse so we could get back out idiots) but again it went really smoothly.

This means, that next weekend we are finally going on a charity fun ride!!! 15miles of new tracks and possibly the odd jump or two. And the best bit? You can enter on the day, so no concerns with us forgetting to post the entries.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing

Apparently! Actually I do kind of agree with this, well mostly, of course some weather conditions are impossible to be properly dressed for, unless you count being wrapped up warm inside the house!

Windy weather for example. You cannot stop the wind finding any bare bit of skin, however small, especially if it is icy cold. Also torrential rain is not much fun.

But the one that I struggle with is April showers. Bright sunshine one minute, chucking it down the next. This is doubly difficult if you are going out on a ride, if you wear full waterproofs you are going to sweat like a pig, but will stay dry if it rains (which it won't - Sods Law) but if you go out in just normal clothes with perhaps a fleece to stop the slight chill, you can guarantee it will hose it down and you will be weighed down by a sopping wet fleece.

Today I got soaked. The sort of soaked where water is running down your face despite looking like a right eejit with a hood up and all the cords pulled tight. My muckers are soggy on the inside, my jodphurs were shrinkwrapped to my legs and my gloves were sopping. I got very wet yesterday too, and the day before and I am very likely to get wet tomorrow. We are in a drought you see, so of course it is raining - a lot. It is that Sods Law again.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Easter Holidays, unpredictable British weather and getting back into the swing of things

We have just had the Easter Hols. My daughter is only 4yrs old, so only at pre-school but who knew what a difference 3hrs a day makes! She is very good really, but this last week has been getting bored and restless, this seems to be catching and so her brother (20months) is also bored and restless. This would be ok, except for the manic energy that seems to accompany bored and restless. The Easter chocolate probably doesn't help - well, it helps me  (but sadly not my waistline)

In true British style the weather has been unpredictable at best, downright miserable at worst. We have tried to get some days out, which have mostly been ok. The kids have had fun and I have been able to collect some smug good mummy points.

I haven't been able to do much with the horses over the holidays. I seem to spend so much energy trying to keep the kids happy and occupied that I have nothing left for anything other than the bare essentials.

So, it is now Monday morning. School and playgroups don't start back up til tomorrow, which gives me a day of trying to get organised. My post-Easter low carb diet starts today, the washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher and possibly cooker are going to be on almost non-stop and I will somehow have to convince these kids that a bath and hairwash followed by an early night is a good idea. Hmmmm.....

Sunday, 25 March 2012

If Ikea did Horses....

You would have to choose a basic frame first. Any colour other than white would cost extra. Markings would be extra. Manes and tails would be extra (but available in all sorts of wacky designs) and even the bloody feet would be an optional extra.

Thankfully, Ikea do not do horses!

They do however do childrens beds. A lovely, small bed for a lovely small child, complete with a guard rail to stop the little darling falling out. But apparently, the base is considered an optional extra. I am actually fine with that, I am not fine with not realising that the base is not included until I get home. Grrrrrrrrrrr.......

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


As I look around my house, every single surface, every single corner, every single gap is full of stuff. There are random things wedged alongside books on the shelves, there are precarious piles of magazines stacked up on the coffee table (and underneath it) there is a huge pile of post on one stair, another of CD's, pens and other things without a home on the next stair. In the kitchen, out of three worktops, only one has enough room to make a cup of tea on, even the fridge has stuff stacked on top of it. I don't know which room is worse, our bedroom or the dining room, where you have to squeeze around odd, full to the brim boxes and bags of more bloody stuff.

I actually really hate mess, but sadly I am a messy person. My children are average, messy children, and my husband seems to be getting worse!

Sadly, I think my house represents the state of myself at the moment - cluttered. I feel I have so much stuff going around my head, and I am really struggling to get it into order.

I know I need to get sorting. Clearing some surfaces off, making the house feel more spacious, and hopefully my head will follow......?

Monday, 12 March 2012

The House of Vom!

Over the last few weeks we have been ill. First of all we all had some virus thing which meant lots of snot, coughing, headaches etc, not much fun, but kind of expected at this time of year. Just as we all shifted it, my 19month old son was sick. Very sick, as in needing clean pyjamas, bedding etc and most of the carpet scrubbing - not nice. Luckily it only lasted that one night and by the next morning he was bouncing off the walls as usual. We thought that was the end of it. We were wrong. Thursday night brought about another bout of sickness, this time for me and my husband. It is really crap having two puking adults in the same house with only one bathroom! My husband and I are obviously not as tough as our toddler son, as we were not bouncing around the next day, we were suffering. It is now Monday, and we are living with a ticking time bomb, our 4yr old daughter, who has not had it yet I am sure she is going to get it, especially seeing as her friend happened to 'decorate' the back of my car yesterday with her sat next to him (children truly are revolting!) I just wish she would hurry up and get it over with as I am currently resisting the urge to scrub the house from top to bottom with bleach*

*Actually, I am unlikely to do this as I am too much of a slattern, but mentally I am, that will surely get rid of all the germs....

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Outside Activities for Small Children

Or, How to keep them occupied for long enough to get things done.

Of course, outside activities are mainly dependant on the weather, you cannot play in mud if there is none, or splash about with the hosepipe and water buckets in the middle of winter when everything is frozen.

Here are some things that my children like to do:

  1. Play with water. There was a time that you could not let my daughter anywhere near a bucket of water without her getting in it, fully dressed. Welly boots take a surprisingly long time to dry out once submerged!
  2. Mud. Need I say more? You can jump in it, squelch in it, stick things in it, make things out of it, eat it
  3. Sticks. Sticks are great for imagination, they can be anything you want them to be - swords, fishing rods, magic wands etc, or you can use them to poke things....
4. Making 'cakes' - this is something my daughter loves doing and I remember doing when I was small. You need a bucket, some kind of stirring utensil (sticks, see above) and whatever stuff you can find - mud, sand, leaves, grass and obviously water (to make it truly disgusting, can you sense a theme?)
5. Chalk. This is quite a good game for if the weather is a bit rubbish. My daughter likes to draw pictures on the insides of the stable walls, and on the stable doors.

6. 'Helping' - Give the children their own tools and let them help (this will actually take you far longer than if you were doing it by yourself!)

Oh, and all of these activities will involve grubby children. Enjoy!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Trailer Trouble

On Sunday, we took the horses out on their first trip in the new trailer. We were excited to be finally trying them in our own trailer, but anxious due to the last trip (which ended in a bent partition in a friend's trailer!)

We exercised the horses first so they weren't too fresh, and they had been out in the woodchip turnout. They got a bit excited when the boots and tail guard came out, but so far, so good.

We loaded the gelding first, then the mare, all fine. Before we had even started to move however, the mare started to lean on the partition and refused to stand on all four legs the trollop

It didn't get any better. While we were moving, all was quiet, but as soon as we slowed or accelerated she would throw herself about. I can quite honestly say it was not the driving that was upsetting her. I truly believe she was upsetting herself.

The good news is that an Ifor Williams 505 seems to be pretty indestructable, only a little bit of pushing back was required.

I have since been googling, asking horsey people I know and talking it through with my husband, and I now have a list of things to try to get the bloody horse travelling on four legs!

  • Put some bedding down in the trailer - even though the floor is decent rubber, apparently some horses can find it slippery.
  • Take off her boots. This sounds a bit harsh, but thinking back, the problem started around the same time I bought a really good set of travelling boots. She may find them too restrictive, and she does not have shoes behind, so damage should be limited. Perhaps some brushing boots will be a better bet?
  • Travel her on the other side. She seemed to be leaning against the partition, and scrambling her legs up the side of the box. If she leant against the side with her feet towards the partition she would find that due to the rubber skirt of the partition, she would have more foot room.
  • Either take out the partition, fold back the rear half or just travel her alone to see if it makes a difference and whether it is a confidence thing.
I will attempt them all if I have to. It is particularly stressful because she has travelled beautifully in a trailer, and with another horse too, so will she come round or not?

Any other suggestions gratefully received!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

An afternoon off - well, sort of....

DS (Darling Son) has fallen asleep on the sofa. This is not ideal really, as I do need him to sleep in the car so I can get the horses done, but I intend to make the most of this afternoon all the same.

I should really do some housework as my super tidy friend is coming over tomorrow morning. I should at least attack the laundry pile and unload the dishy, but I very rarely get an afternoon 'off' so I am going to enjoy every moment!

This means 2hrs of Midsommer Murders, my laptop and my special dip in the sofa. The only thing missing is cake...

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Horse Ideal

When people think about horses/riding/horse riders, everyone has a different picture in their head. For some it may be racehorses, or riding school ponies. Smelly, scruffy girls from the local riding school or snooty toffs in shiny boots with a penchant for whips and spurs (for anyone who has seen the cover of Riders by Jilly Cooper!)

The same applies to horsecare. Some people have muddy horses living out wearing no rug, and some have horses up to their armpits in pristine bedding, wearing four rugs and a lycra hood. There are also many inbetween. To be honest, there is no real right or wrong way as long as you follow some basic care guidelines.

The majority of horse owners do not have pots of money, a beautiful house with stables and paddocks, a groom or a super shiny horsebox. Most of us do it as cheaply as possible! (although I am sure I am not the only one who dreams of all this!)

My horses are stabled at night on a deep littered straw bed, they go out for a couple of hours each day (more in the summer, less in bad weather) they are rugged, but due to the fact I have to rely on other people for turning out, the top rugs are always turnout rugs and do not get changed for going out/staying in. I have to balance out what is best for the horses, best for us (children, financial etc) what is sensible and meet somewhere inbetween. They are at a small livery yard, about 8mins drive away, and even though it is not far, if I were to go twice a day every day it would seriously eat into the day and for me it would make having horses and small children a near impossibility.

I would like to be able to be the one who feeds my horses their breakfast in the morning, to be the last one to check they are tucked up at night with a huge haynet and a clean bed, but sadly it is not possible at this moment in time. I would like to be able to go out competing every weekend, and to schooling sessions and clinics, but as it is I have to be content with a handful of outings each year.

I used to feel guilty that my horses are wasted with me, especially the mare, seeing as the gelding is a retired flat racehorse, and has earned a retirement. But actually, what horse wouldn't love doing as little as possible, eating their heads off and being a little bit fussed over with the odd day out? Sounds pretty good to me!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Winter Blues

I am feeling very 'meh' at the moment. Everything feels like such an effort. The kids are annoying the hell out of me, I feel resentful about having to do the horses everyday with very little help and no company and DH is being a grumpy bugger.

When I think about it, I feel like this at almost exactly the same point every year. It is at the point when the novelty of winter has well and truly worn off, the horses and children are getting badly behaved from lack of exercise, and quite honestly I am sick of feeling 'weathered'. My hair constantly looks like a birds nest, my skin is dry and grey, my hands crack at the slightest movement and I am able to hide all my extra weight under huge jumpers, which doesn't give me much of an incentive to lose it.

I want some decent sunshine. I want to be able to have the windows open without freezing, to be able to hang the washing out on the line instead of all over the house. I want to enjoy spending the afternoons at the yard just pottering about without freezing my arse off or the children getting cold and grumpy.

And the extra daylight! All that extra lovely daylight to spend doing things instead of sat under a blanket eating chocolate.

I am so over Winter now!

Saturday, 4 February 2012


I am cosied up at home waiting for it to snow. I actually like snow, despite it not being very practical for someone who has to go outside and do things every day. I like the fact that it is a 'free' day. A day when I can do the bare minium and not feel guilty about it.

I have already planned on getting the sledge out tomorrow once the horses are done. For the children you understand.

Taking your children out to play in the snow definitely ticks some Good Mummy boxes (it is fun too!) as long as you take 20 pairs of spare gloves with you and have hot Ribena and crumpets on standby for when you get home.

Fingers crossed for a decent amount of snow, and being glad I bought plenty of carrots today for snowman noses.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Christie has a Trailer, Hip, Hip, Hooray

Christie has a trailer and is coming out to play! (hopefully)

Eeeeek!!!!!!! It is so damn exciting to finally have some horse transport. We will, as of the weekend be the proud owners of a (used) Ifor Williams horse trailer.

It has not been easy. My mare has issues with travelling in a trailer. She is fine to load, doesn't even get worked up, but if she feels she can't get comfortable she will just sit down, or in the case of my friend's trailer, bend the partition so it is a better fit the old trollop

So as a horsebox is out of the question financially, I have been researching different trailers, I have been dreaming about trailers and quite frankly my non-horsey friends are bored stiff of me talking about trailers (and even, on one occasion showing my friend some pictures - poor woman!)

We thought we might like an Equi-Trek trailer, but were sure it might be tricky to find a decent one in our price range, plus there were rumours about problems to insure due to their desirability.

I was very taken with the Fautras Oblique 2 trailer, but again, out of our price range.

I then looked at every single make and model of trailer to see how wide they were, what sort of partitions they had if they came in a rear facing option.

We decided to go to a local trailer dealer and have a look at what he had. We have come home with (well, technically, will pick it up at the weekend) an Ifor Williams 505 in blue (sooooo pretty) with the view that actually, if the mare doesn't get on with it, at least they are easy to sell!

The only question now is where to first?!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Finally! Something to ease some of that maternal guilt...

It has been in the news the last couple of days that vitamin D deficiency is on the rise. There has been some speculation over why. Overuse of high factor suncream? Children spending too much time indoors?

Finally, something to make me feel like dragging my kids up to the yard very day is actually in their best interests, rather than mine. I am not being selfish trying to keep some part of me pre-children alive, oh no, I am actually just making sure they get plenty of vitamin D. It is obvious really.

It is just slightly unfortunate that there are so many other things to feel guilty about. Oh well....

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Nothing of Interest

Just some general witterings really, about things that are bothering me.

I seem to have been really busy lately, and yet I have no idea what I have been doing. My house is not very clean, so it certainly hasn't been housework taking up my time. It is not the school holidays, so it is not a change in routine. I certainly haven't really been anywhere exciting (well, unless you count a very un-mumish night out resulting in getting home from the local dodgy nightclub at 3am <ahem> ) so the only conclusion is that either I am getting slower or the days are shrinking. There are no other explanations, I expect it is the first though sadly. And yet, January seems to be taking forever, is January actually 4months long?

I am still waiting for our winter too. What has happened? I seem to have been cold an awful lot, and got wet on too many occasions, but somehow there has not been a proper winter.

I also seem to have lost my baking mojo, which is a sorry state of affairs indeed. Somehow I have not managed to lose weight though....

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

I am in Love

Totally and utterly smitten. A new man (no chance, I am happy with DH) a new baby (hahahaha) a new pet perhaps?

No, my new love is a dirty, great, diesel chugging, enviromentally unfriendly (sorry) Land Rover Discovery. I feel so powerful in it, so safe, so manly!

This is no Chelsea Tractor, oh no, this is a proper car, for doing proper things with, such as lugging children, 3 wheeled buggies, horse food and bales of hay all at the same time. But the main reason is actually to pull a horse trailer - don't worry, there will be another post on those very soon.

There are some little problems with my big new car. Firstly, I can't reach to scrape the whole windscreen (I am vertically challenged) secondly, it is impossible to get into wearing a pencil skirt. But these are minor considerations I feel. Did I mention it also has seven seats?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


I love reading. I find it the only thing that can completely switch my brain off or distract me when things are stressing me out. However, I am not really into 'intellectual' books, I like trash - Jilly Cooper (of course!) Amanda Quick type historical crime/mysteries, Jodie Picoult and various chick lit. I also really like children's books. I love Harry Potter, so much so that I re-read the whole set every 18months or so, or when I am feeling poorly. I adore vintage pony books, the Pullein-Thompsons for example, or National Velvet.

I tend to go to the market on a Tuesday, and next to it there is the Oxfam book shop, so I try to pop in to see if there is anything good. I have bought some elderly hardback Winnie the Pooh books in there (99p each) National Velvet (79p) We Hunted Hounds, C Pullein-Thompson (79p) and the odd book for the kids.

This morning while having breakfast I read which meant I had to look in the Oxfam shop this morning, and lo and behold, I found Enid Blyton's First Term at Mallory Towers - perfect!

A Rare Productive Monday

Mondays are not usually a great day. I put too much pressure on myself to have a good Monday, to start the week as I mean to go on, and this rarely puts me in a productive mood and I tend to rebel against myself and my organisation. Mondays are the days that diets fail to start, housework slips behind and children are late for school.

But not this Monday! Oh no. This Monday I got DD to school on time without the rush, went into town to pick up some things I needed and got home without any unnecessary impulse buys, sorted out a form for the DVLA, organised a magazine subscription and downloaded another form I need to print out once the ink arrives for the printer. I then entertained (well, had my friends and their toddlers round for tea and cake) and picked DD up from preschool on time. The children had a good lunch (dippy eggs cooked to perfection) and were quite jolly.

The horses all went smoothly, I managed to ride the gelding but didn't get any tack cleaned. I bought home the numnahs and saddle cloths to wash though.

Once home I chucked some crumpets at the kids and cracked on with the risotto to go in the slow cooker. Then I crashed. By the time the kids had eaten their dinner, all I could do was give them a quick wipe down and get them into pyjamas. By 9pm I had two asleep children, clean hair and a glass of wine. Not bad going really.

Sadly, there is no chance of sustaining this level of productivity for the week, this morning I have slipped up on the diet (breakfast at the pub) have had unnecessary expenditure (breakfast at the pub and a new book from Oxfam) and have done bugger all since I got home. Hey ho.

Friday, 6 January 2012

A Short Horse Update

The exciting news is that we are still planning on buying a towing vehicle and trailer before the spring and DH and I are on the lookout for some pleasure rides (sounds so rude doesn't it?) to go on. I am also hoping to join the local Riding Club and actually get some competing done this year.

In view of this, my enthusiasm has multiplied by about a thousand and I even rode my little mare in the (outdoor) school in the gales yesterday, which was interesting.

With our new strict routine, I manged 2 1/2 hours at the yard yesterday which was plenty of time to get all the usual jobs done, have a short ride and (this is the exciting bit!) clean some tack! (ok, one bridle, but it is a start!) Long may this last.

When I am a bit more organised I plan to get some pictures of the beasts onto here, you never know they may even be wearing clean tack.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A Good Day and a Good Health Visitor

It always makes me feel quite cross when I hear of unhelpful (and worse!) Health Visitors. I would imagine it to be rather a nice job, lots of weighing babies and reassuring mothers. Anyway, I have always been really impressed by our HV team, I have never been made to feel inadequate or silly.

Today was a visit to discuss DS and his behaviour, namely his violent tantrums and the issue of not staying in bed. I feel I have been given a confidence boost and we now have a plan of action, mostly the sticking to a routine come hell or high water!

So, today I have been very mindful of the time, and DS. This meant that lunch was on the table by 12pm, that we were out of the house by 1.15pm and DS fast asleep by the time we got to the yard at 1.25pm.  The result of this was that DS had a lovely hour and a half nap, and I got lots done due to leaving the house before the afternoon slump hit!

I am not very good with sticking to routines, I like the idea of them, but I also like the spontaneity of a surprise afternoon shopping, or day out with friends. Also, DH's job can throw a bit of a spanner in the works with his crazy hours. Sadly, both children and horses thrive on a good routine so I am kind of stuck!

But, you know what? There might be something in this whole organised, routine thing if today is something to go by.  The HV is coming back in 2 weeks, so we shall see how we are doing, even I can stick to a rigid routine for 2 weeks (I think!)

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Back to Reality...

My DH has had quite a few days off over the Christmas period. It has been wonderful. There has been no dashing about trying to do this, that and the other. We have pottered about doing little jobs, lots of cooking and playing with the children and their new toys. The afternoons have been spent up at the yard. We have even managed a couple of hacks out together. With both of us here, we are able to manage DS's violent tantrums so much better, we are able to take turns having a lie in and catching up on some sleep, all round it has been blissful!

Today DH went back to work. So far, not too bad. DS has had one major tantrum involving screaming and bashing his head, DD was complaining about pretty much everything, but all in all, it could have been worse. We went into town to the market to stock up on fruit and veg (healthy eating resolution) and to the cheap shop that stocks every type of plastic box imaginable to buy yet more toy storage (the Barbies need a new home)

We are now back home, the children are eating grapes and watching Cbeebies. I am hiding in the dining room with a coffee, in the process of making bread (yes, I am that good)

Next stage will be lunch, which I should be able to manage, then on to the horses and the very high possibility that my good intentions will evaporate, due to the howling gale and horizontal rain out there. I really do want to ride, but I know that today there will be less actual riding and more hanging on by my fingernails for dear life. Perhaps a quick lunge will be a good compromise?

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

So it is now 2012.

Not off to a great start I have to admit. We went to a lovely party at our friends yesterday evening, home by 8.30pm, both kids fast asleep without any fuss by 9pm. DH and I in bed an hour later, feeling very full and a little sick.

12am we are woken by some very loud fireworks, and unfortunately so are our children. Nevermind, it is NYE, once a year. Sadly the children (and us) are woken by yet more very loud fireworks at 2.30am which pisses me off a bit to be honest, especially seeing as we are having sleep issues with DS at the moment, and sleep is very precious!

Anyway, it is now New Year's Day, the start of a new year and I am determined to be cheery! I have a 'To Do' list as long as my arm, my Grandparents are coming up for dinner this evening, and I am hoping to get the horses ridden this afternoon.

I shall start by getting dressed and seeing if my DH is thinking of getting up sometime today....