The Epic Journey!

Start Point: North Shields, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Destination: Houston, Texas
Totally Journey Time: 21hrs
Number of Flights: 2
Route: NCL - Heathrow -Houston
Start Time: 5.30am
When people used to say they "couldn't sleep" I literally thought they were being dramatic, I had on the odd occasion woken up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep easily but the thought of getting out of bed to make a cup of warm milk or something would put me straight to sleep...or trying to remember each Big Brother winner in order (try it, it works!). 

However out of nowhere I have started to lay away at night even if I am exhausted, just worrying about things??!! It has now escalated to "Big" occasions though where if I am lucky I will get a couple hours kip, I had reserved this for things like the night before my Driving test but now its all the time, the night before Archie's Birthday party I only got 4hrs because it took me so long to fall asleep churning about equal party bags and safe cake transportation, I then woke up a few times to decide if I should cut the crusts off the sandwich's. My Mam said leave the crusts on because if you don't like them just leave them...honestly couldn't see that at 2am and yes I know I sound insane.

Anyway this is the start of the epic journey, I think even complete strangers know I was absolutely dreading this day and getting a 4yr old, a one year old across the Atlantic solo, so on Wednesday night I didn't get much sleep then on Thursday I slept at my Mam's because we had to get up early... and I don't even remember sleeping, you know that thing you keep checking the clock and then the more you try to go to sleep the less you can *grinds teeth* but I must have got an hour as I was woken up my Mams crazy neighbours having a party at 3am on Thursday?... I then decided to just get up 5am so I wasn't exactly fresh as a daisy. I can honestly say I have never been as worried about something in all my life, I had the most upset stomach, I felt a bit faint and my heart was beating so fast it was jiggling my boobs, I know its stupid, embarrassing and it really annoyed me because in my brain I was thinking "I CAN DO THIS" but my body was thinking..."Yeah lets not". I knew I was in trouble when I didn't even fancy a brew, then I tried to eat a banana but it was literally like chewing cotton wool so much so I had to spit it out. After humouring my neighbour the day before and accepting a pack of "Kalms" off her I necked two, two Ibuprofen AND two paracetemol... no medical reason just to take the edge off! I somehow managed to get dressed and the boys with help from my Mam, I had done all the prep I could, buying loads of new "little" toys, sweets, snacks, I pad fully charged etc and the boys had bright matching outfits and ID bracelets on for tracking reasons, then at 6.30am the Grandparents arrived to take us to the airport and it was time to go! *still got butterfly's thinking about it*


How do I feel?!

Go time!

Somehow got to the airport and my brother surprised me which was nice having a little gathering waving us off...que tears though, I think my brother got a shock when I clung to him like a tree well he is nearly as tall as a tree... and I really was thinking don't leave meeee but he pried me off and that was it solo time. 

 I got through security easy enough, went straight down to our gate and asked to board last which was great as the boys had a good run around, I got on the plane, Oscar had a spare seat which was brill he then promptly went to sleep and I had to wake him when we had to get off again!... I don't know if the Kalms were kicking in  but I was thinking I might actually make it now.  Terminal 5 was heaving but I promised Archie a McDonalds so we went looking for one but no luck, I passed two pray rooms?! but there was no Golden Archs and I was just beginning to think somebody better pray if there isn't a child area but then I found a soft play... Amen.

Bought this but I didn't even open it Obvs!

Zzzzz YES!

Bacon Sandwich always = Happy!

Soft Heaven.

I knew it was going to be 110% hard graft on my own so I didn't mind that part but everyone said "people will help"...but FYI they don't! I always get a culture shock going to London but A LOT of people really are ****s (add your own swear word). People were just bumping into Archie as he tried to walk next to me, a man walking in front of me just sneezed to the side without covering his nose and didn't even stop walking who does that?) and then when Archie dropped his packet of crisps in the Boots que and took a nano second to pick them up a woman actually tutted! It is so hard to do anything dragging the two of them around with a buggy and your luggage but not one person throughout the day offered to help even the security staff watched me struggle to hold Oscar and unfold my buggy with one hand. So if I needed help I had to ask but its like when you have forgot your trolley pound at the supermarket, first your scoping who you are willing to speak to, who will likely help. SO ASK FOR HELP. The only thing I would say in T5's favour is the toilet facility's were brilliant, we all fit comfortably in the disabled loo buggy and all...its the little things *what has happened to my life?!*
Ahhh would have loved a quick neb around here on my own!
So fed, watered, toilet break and soft play done we headed down to the part of my day I would have rather have given birth than do....in fact that's what I would liken this to Labour! I didn't want to do it, but I had to, it was 10hrs of being uncomfortable, lots of hard work and I still feel a bit traumatised a day later.

 I didn't realise but we had to get a tube to our gate it was that far away, again there was more rudeness, people sprinting in front of you for everything, one person fine, maybe they are late to board but it was a bit like a stampede the amount of people then the train took ages to go? I had enough now and had to let a bit of my Geordie Warrior out when someone nearly knocked Archie off the tube at the wrong stop, "Hey don't worry he's not a dog he responds to excuse me!"...well nice bit of space cleared around us. It's the same when you board a plane though people would walk over their Grandma to board first and unless its EasyJet I want to shout "You have your seat and they wont take off without you"...just an observation.
Anyway it's a long story but after being told I would get the bulk head seats, I didn't and I was also told there were two spare seats on board and I would get one for Oscar but that didn't happen either so I had two of the most cramped seats I have every experienced and without sounding like Hyacinth Bucket, I have flown round the world and this was the worst; I was also dreading it for the poor person sat next to us. However the saving grace of the day was I had the nicest person I could have wished for sitting next to us, I am not even kidding here, his name is Ronald and he is a genuine Texas Sheriff so he is used to dealing with "bad situations" and when he told me not to worry he has a 4 year old Grandson I knew we would be sound. I seriously couldn't have done the flight without this man though, he held Oscar several times while I went to the loo or took Archie to the loo, helped me fill in my customs form, provided some light conversation and even showed the boys his badge and gave them Sheriff stickers. The flight was made a million times worse by the man in front putting his seat back as soon as he could which slammed into Oscars face and from that point on poor Ozzie couldn't even sit up straight on my knee, I couldn't even have my meal because the tray wouldn't go down. I would have asked him to put it up but my Kalms were wearing off now and I really felt like having a good cry instead, I literally couldn't even reach into my bag at my feet to take a picture... I've done a little doodle you might enjoy instead.

Amazing Cartoon boobs.
I know I have gone into a lot of detail on everything else but there is not much more I can say for the next 10hrs (or my brain has blanked it out) I am just going to point out the obvious though and say, I HATE flying. I have yet to meet someone who loves it but seriously lets put aside that at any second you could fall out of the sky but its not natural. Your squashed into a metal tube with complete strangers who are always weird, its dirty (take it from me NEVER put your hand in the pocket in front and ALWAYS wash the tray table) it smells, the person in front of me was a cloud of BO and it was like being behind a brown arrow, Its hot then cold then hot (you get the picture), the food is strange and you really can feel every germ entering your system, thanks general public; after the flight I wanted to burn our outfits, I felt so sticky and disgusting. 

The boys were as good as could be expected and I had hoped they might sleep half of it as we were entering their bedtime but they couldn't get comfy and the arm rest didn't go up?! They both had a nap though and although I promised myself I wouldn't check the time I had the "Skymap" up the entire way and literally counted down every minute ha. Even though I was convinced at one point the time went back we eventually arrived. The lovely Sheriff helped us off the plane and we got through security no bother, I have waited 2hrs before but this only took 20mins. We grabbed our luggage and Archie thankfully decided he would like to push it while I pushed Oscar ...and I have never been so happy to see ground in all my life!
Can take a lass out of the Toon....

Actually worried to open this lot! *lump in throat*

Jet lag is killing Archie...and us!


Batman Cake #Tutorial

Well I have never done a cake tutorial before but I have been inundated with requests on how to make this cake. As I have said in my other blog here Baking My Way (also check it out for more cake tips) I am NOT professional and totally self taught but I love baking and sometimes I want to tear my hair out mid cake or I could go on forever but I just haven't got the time, but what's the worst thing that can happen from having a go?! I am not going to share recipes today you can use your own, this is about how to assemble it.


Labour Story #Archie

Well today it is Archie's 4th birthday and I literally cant believe it, where has that gone?! I know its only his 4th birthday but this feels massive to me. The first one birthday you're just glad you have all survived, the second one you wish you could just skip altogether (terrible twos anyone?) and the third they are still babies really but this...he is a proper little boy now and don't I know it, Mr Independent saying things like 

"Well that's just charming Mam!".

I might be in danger of going totally grey but it feels like just yesterday that I wasn't having so much fun on this exact day. Now at the time Archie was born, my friend who lives down south and was due quite close to me asked for a blow by blow account via email of the "Big Launch" so she would know what to expect in a few weeks time. I sent her a short email with "this happened, then he was born" but she sent one back with a million questions and begged for the nitty gritty so that's exactly what she got!

Now this was written just two weeks after birth when things truthfully are smarting a tad... I still laugh my head off at this though because I had been under the impression I had a high pain thresh hold, but it turns out... not so much and I'm also a massive whinge. I'm really pleased I did this though because I literally cant remember much of it, that's the trick Mother Nature plays on you mind, so then you will have more!!! ... without further ado I will share the day Archie arrived.


I have tried to dull it down but YOU want it warts and all so here you go chick!

It started on Tuesday with a shopping trip to get a big "Food Shop" tomorrow being my due date there was no way I was going to actually go into labour right? I felt like crap all the way round and seriously considered ditching my trolley full of food, but I had ran out of bleach obviously with all the nesting, so I persevered and paid. Later after my tea (Beef Stew with dumplings plenty mustard if your'e interested) I felt like I had cramp and a few twinges so I decided to demolish a Snickers (I know nuts how naughty) for medicinal purposes naturally and have a bath but they were getting more regular pains now and then I had a little "show" ...FYI this word now makes me feel physically sick. I was fine but Chris looked panicked and made me call the MWLU at 10pm to check and they said it sounded like the start but with it being my first…yada yada don't come in yet basically. I went to bed quite happy, I woke up at 3am and the pains were gone, champion Afternoon Tea with GG tomorrow would go ahead. I then went back to sleep and woke up around 7am NOT happy, the pains were back. Now when I say pains they weren't like a stitch or cramp it was like a weird tooth ache inside my stomach and back, coming and going so I didn't really know what to do with myself as there wasn't really anywhere to hold or rub?!
Sounds funny but looking back I still thought it could have been a sick joke false labour. I made some crumpets and managed one bite and felt the most queasy I ever have without actually being sick. Once I spat that out, I decided to try and relax by watching a film, "Hitch" was picked which I used to love but literally couldn't even concentrate on it and don't think I will ever watch it again because of the bad memory's. At 9am the pains picked up pace so I put on my tens machine and a scalding hot water bottle which did really help and I decided to cancel "Afternoon Tea", so Chris called them whilst also intently staring at my face as if confirming I was indeed in labour and in enough pain to cancel! My Grandma burst into tears and when I took the phone of Chris I could only hear high pitched squeaking until my Granddad picked it up and said in his most serious voice said "Your Grandmas hysterical but fine, good luck!" I then called my Mam and it was the same with all the crying so we just gave up calling people at this point. 

10am: I was making prehistoric noises now, literally no clue where that sound came from, so the husband called MWLU again and the same DON'T COME IN YET even though my pains/contractions were 4mins apart. So I stopped rolling around the living room floor crying and I TOLD CHRIS we were going to hospital right now no matter what; luckily for him he disappeared, fed the dog and got the car packed up. However for the first time in 25yrs naturally the council had decided to resurface our street, which they promised would have been finished the week before but no, so instead of a quick exit into the car on the drive (to avoid all our retired neighbour's who have been watching our house for weeks, for any signs of the big launch day) Chris had to take me through the house, the garden, out the back and down the street which sounds stupid but it was horrible because I could barley walk at this point and its now part of my bloody labour story! To be fair if any neighbour's,  paparazzi or aliens saw me waddling down, looking and sounding like a T Rex I didn't notice them at all...strange that.

Arrived at MWLU and left my dignity in the car. I then had a massive contraction in the middle of the road which stopped the traffic as couldn't move….nice! Met a really grumpy midwife who insisted I couldn't be far gone, with it being my first baby, she might send me home as it was busy. Thank the lord though there was a bathroom free so she gave me two paracetamol...I cant tell you how much this took the edge off...not. Then she let me go in the bath for an hour, this ended up being one of the worst experience of my life, the bath would have been small for a dwarf but for me..I couldn't get my bump or my legs covered not to mention the water was at best warm so I decided to get out and have a wee, but it wasn't fun enough so I was also sick into one of those revolting cardboard bowls at the same time. Not going to lie at this point I'm not thinking this is a magical experience. 

By 12.30pm a delivery suite had become free so Witchy Poo agreed to let me go in there for a bit, it took about 25mins to walk 3 rooms away as the pain was mind numbing and it felt I had a bowling ball in my bladder. She still wouldn't examine me though and insisted I couldn't be far gone, in fairness to her when she came back I was really trying to lock down the Dinosaur noises. According to her "I didn't look in that much pain and it would feel like a really bad leg cramp"…at which point my head did a 360 and I growled, "If you chop my leg off it would take my mind off THIS pain!" she had obviously had this sort of abuse before because she just smiled said she would check on us in a few, "Why didn't I have a bounce on the ball?!".....

2.30pm: I really was thinking I might be dying now and I just wanted to lie down and get on with it, obviously expressing this to the husband a lot, but Misery said I should walk around as I would be lucky if this baby was born today. I was getting hot so she told the husband to go and get the fan from the car but not my bags as I still might be going home, so he trotted off bless him thinking she knew better than me. The midwife went to get her notes and...a sandwich for Chris?! So I was on my own and glad as I leap off the sodding ball, back onto my death bed and just started pushing. When the husband got back in 15mins, he took one look at me and said "You better get off and start walking around because I am NOT going home with you like this!" We had done a fab antenatal class in prep and according to him, this wasn't following our strict plan...soz for that. At that exact moment as if to prove my point I burst my own waters through pushing and poor Chris nearly died and started madly pushing the bleeper. The MW came back in with a tea tray for Chris and said are you sure you haven't wet yourself?! She started wittering on about how it was a busy day and she still might have to send me home whilst taking off my pants, oh yeah I'm still fully clothed. Revealing that I had actually broke my water and could maybe telling the truth.

At this point another fantastic MW called Karen came in and thank the lord said she was swapping shift with witchy poo. Who ate some humble pie and said it seems I had proved her wrong and would be having the baby shortly beating her estimation by 24hrs, before she disappeared for good....on her broom (everyone is right a good/nice midwife makes the world of difference...I think they might be angels) Karen took one look at me and said "WOW I can see a head and I was ready to push" I felt too naughty to tell her I already had a few times now. After putting Chris in a head lock while I got down to business and being asked did I want to feel the head which was met with "Hell no!" I had my little man 15mins later 7lb 10oz at 3.24pm and he was put straight on my chest....to think she had tried to send me home! Like a really drunk fog everything just cleared I came back to reality, the pain was all gone and it truly was the best moment of my life. So 5hrs proper labour start to finish and not a jot of pain relief…don't get me wrong I'm not bragging IN THE LEAST I would have took some proper A class stuff 5mins in but she wouldn't even give me gas and air as "I would get sick if I started on it too soon..." 

It was totally amazing and of course worth it I'm just not sure I will again, especially when I think of the head coming out, now I know what that song is about "Burn Baby Burn" Good Luck and may the odds be ever in your favour Xx

Ha ha told you! My poor friend ended up having a 40hr hell labour and was actually really glad I prepped her. I also asked for Chris's side of the story but he said "You were awful, I was in a headlock and then he was born" so magic all round. In all seriousness if I had known how much worse it could get with Oscar I might not have complained as much but I havent got round to writing that...something to look forward to!

Bet K-Mid looked this crap...not!

Happy Birthday to my best big boy Archie love you to the moon and back.
Mammy x


Turning 30.......

I find it weird concept to be 30 and I don't think its suits me, I remember when I was 18 being in a bar, me and my bestie Carly were clucking about two woman who looked ...oh 25. This was back in the day when we went out Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday for student night if we weren't too hanging, you tend to see the same people and we swore when we were "their" age we would not be going out all the time.....CRINGE CRINGE CRINGE. Its kind of like when I was pregnant though I assumed that I would just become Mother Earth over night but in reality your still you just with children to look after. I think that's the same with age, I will forever be 18 in my mind, my body doesn't feel it and lord knows my face don't look it but I'm young at heart.
As if I'm not aware of my D.O.B though there are some major signs and it is like 30 is saying
"Come on in!"

  • I now recycle ribbon, even the scabbiest crumpled bit makes it into the wrapping draw..oh yeah I have one of those as well now; "It will come in useful for something"
  • I have a favourite mug...and I am really annoyed if its in the dishwasher.
  • All of a sudden I don't know half of my Facebook friends...until I realise its just because they have gotten married.
  • Also my news feed has gone from drunken nights out and holiday snaps to none stop gym work outs and babies, everyone's got one even if its a baby animal.
  • I have completely lost the ability to digest Fish and Chips, Onions and Peppers...Heart Burn anyone?!
  • For absolutely no medical reason whatsoever I have started to get a "Bad Back"...soon I will be able to tell when its going to rain.
  • Wine is now a side dish to a meal, I might as well put a hammer through my forehead if I drink more than 2 glass's #wineflu
  • I don't have hangovers anymore, at some point the next day I actually die for like 5minutes and then struggle through another day...sometimes two.
  • Out of no where I have started to think about what I eat, now I'm not exactly considering being vegan but I am thinking things like Sugar vs Sweetener one will make me fat but the other will probably kill me...decisions decisions.

  • I am proud of the vast selection of Hot beverages I am able to offer my guests.
Look at these beauty's!

  • Any little ache or pain I now worry its something "serious", lets face it I'm not too young for...anything fatal anymore! 
  • Sometimes when I'm going out I wish was staying in my PJ's and eating my body weight in chocolate instead of doing my hair for an hour.
  • All my shoes have a comfort rating.
  • I now sometimes volunteer to take my car on nights out so I cant drink, not because of work or antibiotics because I cant handle the 3 day hangover.
  • I literally cant start my day without a cup of tea.
  • Recently there was talk of a School Reunion even though I only left 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12...13 YEARS AGO!
  • Not that I didn't appreciate money before but now I actively look for deals, obsessively turn lights off and I also opt to save on something to splurge on something else....I know right?!
  • I have started saying things like "You buy cheap you buy twice" or "A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush" and mean it!
  • I have no patience for things now, no matter how trivial I spend probably 80% of my day grumbling about something, when your old as well I think they call it "Cantankerous"

  • I feel depressed when someone my age is very successful, Mila Kunis was born 3 weeks before me....I have wasted my life........Amy Winehouse was born a few days later, maybe I will just get over it.
Its not that I don't want to embrace my 30's its more that I'm sad to say goodbye to the last decade, it's the same when I turned 20, I insisted on being called 20-teen for about 6mths. Which is stupid because my 20's have been fab, I got my first home, had an amazing dog been and sadly gone, got engaged, been round the world once, got married, made some friends for life and had two gorgeous babies.
Its not easy to say goodbye but I look forward to lots more adventures.....right I'm off to spend an exorbitant amount of money of face creams now.
Ash xox