Saturday, 28 February 2015

10 years since my daddy died

Dear daddy,

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of your death.

Today, 10 years ago, I was living in a house share in the Docklands and had just sat down to have dinner.  I was about 5 mouthfuls in when there was a knock at the door.  My housemate sitting next to me didn’t move. So I got up and answered the door to find mum there.  She didn’t live local. I knew. I just knew.

Mum and I went upstairs to my bedroom. She told me that Peter (his “housemate”) had found you that morning. You had passed away in your sleep.  At least I like to think thats what happened. As mum was talking I couldn’t stop thinking about the dinner I was halfway through.  The dinner that I thought I was going to throw up.   I had an ensuite.  I knew it wasn’t far to the bathroom.  Would it be rude to leave mum talking. I had this feeling of numbness.  I don’t really remember what we talked about but I packed a few things and went downstairs.  My housemate couldn’t make eye contact with me.  He didn’t even offer to clean up my dinner for me.  Its the silly things you remember.  I remember scraping the plate into the bin then scrubbing at the plate for a ridiculous amount of time. I got in the back of mums car, my now stepdad drove and I cried all the way back home.  I think it was raining.  I’m not sure.

It was a Monday.  I was due to go skiing on the Wednesday.  A ski trip that you had paid for. 

Tuesday morning I rang work.  I strongly told them, holding back the tears, that you had died and that I wouldn’t be coming into work.  That afternoon flowers arrived.  They were really pretty. You would have liked them.  I remember how much you enjoyed our garden, you worked hard keeping it nice. Wish I had paid more attention to your gardening lessons! Wish you had taught me more. Wish you were still here to teach my about my garden.  Tell me what are weeds and what are not.

We visited the house on Tuesday.  Went to see Peter.  I didn’t go upstairs.  I didn’t want to see your bedroom.  I never went in their until someone else had stripped the bed. I think my mum did I’m not sure.  She did a lot for me over those next few months.  She was my rock.

Tuesday we had a visit from a good family friend Brenda.  I think it was a visit.  Maybe a phone call.  I don’t have a great memory.  I should write things down more.  She convinced me to go skiing.  Mum told me there wasn’t much we could do.  We were waiting on the coroners report. It would take at least a week.  My ski trip was for 10 days.

Mum drove me back to my house so I could pack.  My other housemate was there.  I remember her giving me a hug.  I don’t remember much else, I don’t remember going to the airport. I went with two friends and a group of their friends.  I don’t remember much about that holiday. I remember listening to classical music on the aeroplane and crying, fighting back the tears so no one could see.  I remember being in a chinese restaurant with everyone.  Chinese was the last place we had eaten out.  I had done all the ordering for you and Peter, like I always did.  This time though other people were taking control and I couldn’t order what I wanted.  I remember going to the bathroom and sitting on the floor crying.  I remember ski school. A great distraction.  I remember a few days after ski school and going down a slope by myself.  Getting stuck and my legs freezing up.  They were shutting the slopes and I couldn’t move.  I was freaking out.  They had to get a skidoo to help me down.  I didn’t cry, I thought I was being strong.  I remember drinking a lot of milky hot chocolates every day. Alcoholic ones.  I was cold, they warmed me up.  I remember eating a carbonara and being very ill that night.  I didn’t know that you dying would cause my body so much stress that I would become lactose intolerant and 10 years later still suffer from IBS.  I remember ringing my mum everyday away from everyone.  They only time I felt I could cry. I think back to it now.  My daddy had died two days before, I was on a skiing holiday and people thought I wasn’t upset.  To them maybe. My behind closed doors I was an emotional wreck.

I don’t remember the days after the holiday and leading up to your funeral.  The coroner told us that you had died from a ruptured aneurysm. I think I went to work.  I must have as I didn’t get signed off work till the end of April.  

I remember the morning of the funeral.  Putting on my black skirt suit.  My work suit. I wore heels.  I felt taller and felt that being above everybody meant less eye contact.  Everyone met at your house.  I can’t remember how many cars we had.  I think two. I was in the first car with mum. Laura and Amy came with me.  They were like sisters to me. They held my hands the whole way to the crematorium. I don’t remember if it was a sunny day or not but I wore sunglasses. I was glad they were on as it meant I didn’t have to make eye contact with anyone at the crem.  Uncle Tony (who is no longer in our life anymore due to Will issues) did a reading and Amy’s dad Scott read your eulogy.  I still carry around a copy of it in my purse. 


The wake afterwards was not what I expected.  There was alcohol and laughter.  I met your first wife. As I only visited you at weekends, and not every weekend at that, there were lots of people there that I hadn’t seen in ages.  They were your friends that you had spent most of your days with.  Usually on your daily afternoon visits to the Thatchers pub. They all told me that you were ready to go. 

This was in March. On 27th April 2005 I started a diary.  This is interesting as on 27th April 2010 my son, your grandson, was born! In my diary I stated that I had been feeling ill for a few weeks and my doctor diagnosed me with delayed stress.  I didn’t write often in my diary, it started with every week, then a random two days in a row, then every month then a 4 year gap to 28th February 2010. 
Each diary entry I get worse and worse. I write about not being able to talk to anyone, feeling all alone. Looking back I can’t believe what I went through and how low I felt.  I find it really sad to read what i have written. I don’t think I dealt with loss very well.  I constantly write about feeling ill and not sleeping.  I’m a stress eater so that probably wasn’t helping.

On 28th February 2010 I write that I am 7 months pregnant and I’ve been to lunch at the inlaws and some of their family friends.  I write that I had to leave the room making excuses for the toilet when in reality I had gotten upset at remembering halfway through lunch what day it was. I haven’t written in the diary since, but I will today.

They do say time heals all wounds. 10 years on and I still miss you but it gets easier. For your funeral mum and I made a photo album and people wrote nice things about you at the back and I saved all the sympathy cards.  When we moved house in 2012 it went missing.  We are due to clear out the loft today, I will be over the moon if we find it.  It has to be somewhere.  It has to be. 

But dad I want you to know that I'm doing okay now.  I have an amazing husband and two wonderful kids. Olivia would have you wrapped around her little finger!

Lots of love
your daughter x

Monday, 23 February 2015

Weekly Meal Plan February 23th



This week I've started my clean and lean healthy way of living.  I'm going to do my best to stick to it during the week but am going to make use of the slow cooker at weekends. These meal will still be "clean" in terms that they won't be process but they may have more carbs than the official clean and lean plan allows. I'm also including a few recipes from Davina's 5 weeks to sugar free book,

So here is my ipad screenshot of my menu planner app of this weeks meal plan: 



For those that can't view the image this is how my evening meals are planned for this week:
Monday:KidsPizza
AdultsClean and Lean: Chicken, Asparagus & Cashew Stir Fry
Tuesday:KidsPasta with homemade tomato and hidden veg sauce

Grown upsDavina's Salmon with Lentils 
Wednesday:KidsCod burgers with polenta flour, served with homemade chips
Grown ups
Thursday:KidsThis is our after school martial arts night so something on toast; baked beans on egg....each child has their own preference.
Grown upsPapa penguin is out so I'm having Rye bruschetta with broccoli, asparagus and garlic (I'm not convinced!)
Friday:KidsSlow cooker lasagne

Grown upsSame as the kids - if there is any left!
Saturday:LunchLentil and Spinach Soup - Davina recipe

DinnerSlow Roast Moroccan Lamb - a Davina recipe
Sunday:LunchLunch bits such as cheese, salami's, ham, crudites

DinnerSlow cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken - Audrey Deane recipe


Meal Planning Monday

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Recipe - Dairy Free and Gluten Free Fish Pie

I just had to share this recipe I made.  I admit we don't eat that many meals with cheesy creamy sauces in as I don't really like them.  Not just because I'm dairy free, I just never have.  I did however recently have a huge craving for fish pie so I found a recipe and although it was really faffy I really enjoyed it.

I've recently taken on a dairy AND gluten free mindee so I was keen to given this recipe a try without gluten and it worked!  I thought it was really yummy and all 6 children I looked after ate it all up, two even had seconds!  So here it is.

Please note this recipe contains goats cheese.

Serves 4 adults - or lots of kids!

Ingredients
For the sauce
50g vitalite (or other dairy free spread)
50g gluten free flour (such as doves)
500ml Rice Milk (I use alpro)
50g hard goats cheese (grated)
For the pie mix
5 medium sized potatoes (I use Maris Piper) peeled and diced
ground white pepper
dollop of vitalite
1 packet fish pie mix
handful of frozen prawns (defrosted)
50g hard goats cheese (grated)


Boil the potatoes and then mash them with a sprinkle of ground white pepper and a dollop of vitalite.
Pre heat the oven to 200°C degrees

Make the sauce:
Put the rice milk into a microwavable jug (such as pyrex glass jug) and heat until hot (or use a separate saucepan). In a non stick saucepan heat the vitalite until melted, turn down the heat and add the gluten free flour. Stir continuously until a paste is formed.  Gradually add the hot milk approximately 100ml at a time stirring continuously to remove lumps.  Add the grated cheese.

Make up the pie:
In a lightly greased (with oil or vitalite) oven proof dish place the prawns and fish pie mix and stir well. Gently pour the white sauce covering all the fish.  Spread the mashed potato over the top, run a fork over it and cover it with the grated hard goats cheese.

Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes until golden brown.



I serve mine with peas and sweetcorn or baked beans. 






Monday, 9 February 2015

Weekly Meal Plan February 9th



Whoops I missed a week.  I had it all in my head and meant to write it down but blue penguin got ill and then I just felt really tired all the time.  I now have my 4 weekly meal plan rota in place.  Its all just hand written scribbles at the moment.
Kids food is sorted but myself and papa penguin are going to have a go at doing the Clean and Lean diet.  Its not so much a diet but a healthier way of living.  Once I get us sorted and my head round all the recipes I'll be transferring our ways onto the kids!

So here is my ipad screenshot of this weeks meal plan: 


For those that can't view the image this is how my evening meals are planned for this week:
Monday:KidsPizza and crudites
AdultsPapa penguin is away so I had my fave pasta with pizza express dressing
Tuesday:KidsDairy free and Gluten free Fish pie

Grown upsSame as the kids. 
Wednesday:KidsNuggets, waffles, peas and carrots
Grown ups
Freezer food - papa penguin doesn't think he'll make it home
Thursday:KidsThis is our after school martial arts night so something on toast; baked beans on egg....each child has their own preference.
Grown upsTakeaway!  Last one for a while but we have parents evening!
Friday:KidsSlow cooker lasagne

Grown upsSame as the kids - if there is any left!
Saturday:LunchRoasted tomato soup - Clean and Lean recipe

DinnerChicken and roasted vegetable traybake - a Davina recipe
Sunday:LunchLunch bits such as cheese, salami's, ham, crudites

DinnerSpaghetti bolognese


Meal Planning Monday

Thursday, 29 January 2015

A weekend with the class teddy

Blue penguin did really well with his writing in school that he got to take home Cookie the class teddy! Unfortunately we didn't have a very exciting weekend planned, its very rare that we have a weekend of no plans. So Cookie got to experience boring home life, routines of story time, bedtime, breakfast, lunch and homework.  Though we did drag Cookie shopping and made some cookies - cookies for Cookie!



Sunday, 25 January 2015

Weekly Meal Plan January 26th



Well I'm almost organised. I've now decided that I'm going to have a 4 week rolling menu for dinners and a two week rolling menu for lunches.  I'm hoping it will keep everyone happy.  I'd like to get more varied with puddings and I had planned to do mid week mini apple crumbles a few times but I just find it difficult to find the time to make them when I'm already making dinners and cakes whilst the little ones nap.

So here is my ipad screenshot of this weeks meal plan: 

For those that can't view the image this is how my evening meals are planned for this week:
Monday:KidsSlow cooker chicken curry - recipe recommended by a friend!
AdultsSame as the kids
Tuesday:KidsPizza and peas/carrots

Grown upsFreezer food. We'll probably have the chilli from last week. 
Wednesday:KidsNuggets, waffles, peas and sweetcorn
Grown ups
Freezer food - papa penguin doesn't think he'll make it home
Thursday:KidsThis is our after school martial arts night so pasta
Grown upsUndecided as it is the night before papa penguin goes away for a few days
Friday:KidsChicken Korma

Grown upsMy mum will be staying for a few days so hopefully we'll eat with the kids

The weekend is yet a bit up in the air.  My mum will be staying, we are seeing extended family on Saturday so might be out for dinner.  I have sainsburys come twice a week, Mondays and Thursday so I think I'll decide later on in the week!

Meal Planning Monday

Friday, 23 January 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful

Buttons!  Blue penguin can finally do buttons!  Aged 4 years and 9 months there is no more screaming at the top of stairs "MUMMY CAN YOU HELP ME DO MY BUTTONS!" I myself having been telling him to get dressed for the last five minutes whilst I rush around upstairs making beds, getting myself ready, folding laundry etc and he finally decides to get dressed as I go downstairs which means two minutes later I'm running back up them to do buttons! I bought him two pairs of button up pj's in the john lewis sale so I think they've helped teach him.


I took blue penguin out of school today for an eye check up at the hospital.  It was a 1120am appointment and last time we were there for 3 hours.  So we turned up with packed lunch, were seen within 25 minutes and apparently his squint has improved a little since wearing glasses. Such good news, maybe he won't have to wear glasses forever after all (but you can tell in the above picture that he still has a lazy eye).  On the car drive home to drop papa penguin, pink penguin fell asleep so he took her indoors and I left them taking blue penguin to school.  It was their lunch time when we got there and as he had already eaten I treated him to a milkshake and brownie at the village cafe. Usually I have 3 little ones with me during the day so it was soooo nice to just sit in the cafe with just my son giving him my full attention. 


I feel I need to write about pink penguin but to be honest she is currently going through that I don't want to nap but can't quite make it to the end of the day without having many major breakdowns, however it does mean that when the other kids I look after are napping I get to spend an hour with her. I'll admit Wednesday she sat in front of the ipad whilst I baked and prepared dinner but she was happy and I was happy!  The other two days we red and practised our colours!  She knows quite a few now but always gets stuck on green! Here she is, wearing a hat indoors!