A Mothers Ramblings: September 2019

Monday, 30 September 2019

A Little Reminder

I think a lot of people need to hear this today, it's a grey old day as my Nan used to say and I think that everyone is just thinking about the next job they have to do, the next person they want to help, the next change they need to make to help this world survive. 

If you want to give light to others, you have to glow yourself quote by Thomas S. Monson

Take care of yourself, let yourself glow and then you can help the world by shining your light around.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Marriage Is Awesome!

Today is mine and Flyfour's 18th Wedding Anniversary.

I can honestly say that meeting Flyfour and managing to somehow be charming enough that he fell in love with me was the best thing I've ever done in my life. Genuinely, whilst there wasn't any real trickery involved, I am so happy that Flyfour and I managed out of the billions of people on Earth to meet each other, to realise that we loved each other and on top of all that and that we then managed to work out we both wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, well actually not just all our lives, but all of eternity together*.

Flyfour and PippaD getting married

Saturday, 28 September 2019

What We Are eating W/C 28th September 2019

It's nearly the end of September, which is amazing because that means I've almost had a job for a month, I'm about to celebrate mine and Flyfour's 18th wedding anniversary and it's nearly Halloween. I mean come on, it's fab right?! Time is flying and I'm totally okay with that.

Chicken and Salad - it'll be featuring later in the week!

Friday, 27 September 2019

A Pre-Anniversary Date Night With Noughty! #Review

This coming weekend is mine and Flyfour's 18th Wedding Anniversary.

We are planning on being up north for our anniversary again, and then possibly at a Fireside if we return home early enough so Flyfour and I won't have a chance to sit together and just enjoy each other's company. Well apart from the very long car journey back to Milton Keynes, but that doesn't count as the children will be in the car too!

We decided because of the lack of time we'd have alone together, we'd spend some time together one night the week before our anniversary and share a bottle of Noughty, an organic, vegan, alcohol-free sparkling wine that I'd been sent to review.

A bottle of Noughty in the garden

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Apparently I'm Too Nice!

I was told off at work this week.

It wasn't a real telling off, but one of the visitors to the school told me I was too happy, upbeat and positive to be a receptionist in a school and that they'd never met a receptionist quite like me. Another visitor to the school overheard and agreed and then a discussion over my demeanour between the two took place. I took this not real telling off as a compliment because I like to be happy and so purposely smile and act upbeat so that every interaction I have with Staff, Pupils and Visitors is positive.

PippaD off to work

It's working, I know several of the parents (so really only the ones who come in regularly, or who were parents at my local primary school too) and I know a lot of the students... I mean a lot. I've got a little "gang" who come to tell me what they've been up to and how many house points they've achieved.

I've mostly managed to memorise the entire staff's names and faces (this is a large senior school, that's an achievement!) and each morning will have a short conversation with them about what they have been up to, or what they are going to be up to and then I follow it up a few days later asking how a certain event went for example.

There was just one member of staff that I had been feeling a little worried about.


Wednesday, 25 September 2019

9 To 5 The Musical #Review

I first saw the stage version of 9 to 5 The Musical, six years ago and fell in love with it, so when Milton Keynes Theatre offered me a ticket to go and see the latest touring version of the show, I was very much in favour of attending!

9 to 5 The Musical

Again, it was a fabulous show from start to finish and I'm so glad that I got to see Brian Conley as Franklin Hart Jnr, as he played it so brilliantly it has to be seen to be appreciated. Then again that little crush I have on Brian Conley probably also has something to do with it.

Brian Conley at Franklin Hart Jnr

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Charity Cold Callers

I don't know if this happens all over the country, I assume it does, but around here it seems every weeknight there is a knock at the front door and standing there looking expectant is a Charity Cold Caller.

You know who I mean right?

A young person who is paid to knock door to door to get people to sign up to give a monthly donation via direct debit to the Charity they are working for. Actually, that's not true I assume they aren't paid directly by the charity, but a company paying minimum wage or maybe even no wages at all and they are paid on commission of the people who sign up. I don't know.

The point is, we get them a lot and I try hard to be nice to them, but we have our chosen charities and I'm not able to support all of the ones who knock on my front door and the scripts they have work at making you feel guilty about not supporting them, so I kinda hate them.

PippaD looking all wild eyed and with the grin she'd have if she was a Charity door to door cold caller.

Monday, 23 September 2019

The New Garden Beds

Since having the garden done two years ago, we have loved spending time in our garden. We have loved sitting on the deck, we have loved eating on the Patio and to be honest, I've loved having my three little raised beds outside my kitchen window, even if they aren't always fully weeded or devoid of cat poop...

Raised beds outside the Kitchen window... excuse the cat poop!

It was all that we wanted, but as we lived with it, we realised that we had further dreams for our garden, to make it great for how we use it, how we wanted to use it and more importantly how to help us to keep it neat and tidy.


Sunday, 22 September 2019

Renovating The Temple

Every month, the Young Women in our ward have a discussion with each other and us leaders based around a talk from our most recent General Conference session. I've talked about what General Conference is before, and even included a video that gives a sort of taste of what happens at Conference and honestly I can't tell you enough about how much it means to me and just how much I get from the talks and from listening to the Spirit whilst I'm listening to the talks.

It's a really spiritual thing and honestly, I think if you'd watch you'd get it and want to know more, so I'll remember to invite you to join me the first weekend of October!

Last month, I was leading the discussion with the Young Women, and I picked a talk which to be honest the girls had mostly overlooked, as it was the closing remarks of our Prophet and from what the young women had said, they thought this was just where he said it was a great conference and talked about the new Temples that were being built.

It was so much more than this.

The London England Temple in Autumn

Saturday, 21 September 2019

What We Are Eating W/C 21st September 2019

I'm really excited for this week to be over! Well, that's not quite true, I'm just really excited because next weekend is my anniversary and we're going away and I'm excited for that and because it's nearly Halloween and Bonfire Night and CHRISTMAS!

Anyway, my anniversary first.

The A Mother's Ramblings Family having some fun

Friday, 20 September 2019

My Favourite Parking Space

Our local Tesco store has been doing some refurbishment works over the last few weeks in their car park. We don't actually go to Tesco that much so we didn't really know about it until one day when I stopped off to get a key cut and saw they were taking away the trees between spaces. Normally, I'd be very unhappy about them taking trees out, but these trees were slowly being murdered by being in the car park, with not enough space to grow properly and fairly often being hit by drivers who should be looking a lot more carefully where they are driving!

Tesco Car Park renovations going on at night


Thursday, 19 September 2019

Late Night Shopping

Every so often, there is a need to go shopping in the middle of the night. It might be that Dan Jon and I have decided we need a snack when Top Ender and Flyforu are away. It might be that Flyfour has a sudden urge to make something and so runs off to buy whatever ingredients he needs. It might be that Top Ender remembers the night before her English lesson that she is supposed to be taking in biscuits for her class to share. It might be that we've run out of something we need for the morning or something important, like cat food, or really important like chocolate.

Very important chocolate

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Banned For a Year!

I went to give blood last week. It's something that I've been doing since going to University and is actually really important to me and has been since I started giving blood for two, well three reasons.

The first is, as many of you know I have a blood phobia, to the point where I often pass out if I see blood. Giving blood is my way of not letting that control me, and yes I may close my eyes and distract myself every time and have to warn the lovely team that help take my blood, but it's my way of having control over my phobia.

PippaD reading the Welcome pack and ready to give blood

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Swedish Name Days

A friend of mine is Swedish and recently, she posted on Facebook that it was her name day. I had no clue what this was, so decided to look it up, so that when I wished her a happy "name day", I'd know exactly what it was I was wishing her.

My very basic level research (aka I googled it) told me that in Sweden, all but six days are allocated names, on which people who have this name (or similar) are able to celebrate. They had originated as with most things with the Catholic Church and their Saints days. Sweden changed some of their name days in the 18th Century to add some popular names and ones that didn't have religious links and then the Swedish church encouraged people to celebrate name days because they thought birthday celebrations were a bit too pagan. 

I'm a bit of a magpie when it comes to traditions, picking ones that I think look fun to adopt for my family and so I was eager to find out if my families names were on the list.

PippaD all excited and Snapchat filtered!

Monday, 16 September 2019

The Bad Feeling on Friday The 13th!

Walking into School on Friday the 13th, I was ready for something bad to happen. Not because of the date you understand, but because it was the end of my first two weeks at work and almost everything had gone smoothly and I was, dare I say it, happy and so of course, I was ready for a bad thing to happen to end this happy streak.

I mean, that's not normal is it? Being happy at work.

The children had got a lift with me to School, and as we parked in the Staff carpark, two teachers were parking up at the same time. In the last couple of weeks, I've got used to the teaching staff looking at me with a bit of suspicion, when parking with students in the staff car park. Yet, one of the teachers recognised Top Ender and called out Good Morning to her, which meant the other teacher looked at us and recognised Dan Jon.

Top Ender and Dan Jon ready for School

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Never Giving Up

During Mutual a few months ago, one of the boys, threw a ball to me. Actually, that isn't quite true, he didn't throw it to me, he threw it at me, by lobbing it in the direction of my head. The expectation was clear, he was acting the fool and was hoping to amuse his fellow Young Men, and maybe impress a few of the Young Women at my expense. Knowing this young man as well as I do, I could tell that he had envisioned the ball sailing over my head or perhaps even better in his mind, hitting me in the head and for my embarrassment or shock to add to his comedic timing of having thrown the ball whilst I was getting everyone's attention and asking all to settle down.

He isn't a bad kid. He made a decision in the heat of a moment and it was the wrong one.

His plan to humiliate me failed, because of one tiny detail that he forgot to factor into his plan, mainly because he didn't know me as well as he thought he did. He didn't know that I used to play Netball and still have pretty good hand, eye coordination, even for an overweight forty-year-old!

PippaD and family playing with air and a ball!

Saturday, 14 September 2019

What We Are Eating W/C 14th September 2019

Is it just me or has this week flown by? Don't get me wrong, I am 100% fine with the year flying by, but could we all possibly have just one week where we can all catch our collective breath and have a Hot Chocolate before we start the next chore/event/moment etc?!

Yeah, didn't think the world was going to stop just for me.

A Costa Hot Chocolate


Friday, 13 September 2019

Buffalo Wings And A Blue Cheese Dip

Flyfour has had a few meals in restaurants attached to Hotels in the last month or so, because he has been working away from home and it's about the only perk of being away from the children and I and of course our very comfortable bed!

Flyfour is celiac, which means that he can not eat gluten or wheat without triggering an immune response in his body, which causes inflammation and damage to the small intestine and this causes him a lot of pain, discomfort and doesn't smell too good either. Luckily, one of the restaurants he was eating at, had a good menu with each of the dishes that was gluten-free being marked and allowed Flyfour to pick something he knew he could eat.

a bad photo of the menu

Excuse the bad photo, but Flyfour took it just to show me, it wasn't for a blog post!


Thursday, 12 September 2019

A Little Bit Of Gardening

Yesterday we were supposed to have had a little more work done to our garden, with the same team who did the massive overall a couple of years ago. We asked them back to do a couple more sets of raised planters down the lawn (so I can keep them tidy more easily) and they've agreed to stake the plum tree for us so that it isn't practically laying down. They had to change the date they were coming and now next Monday the team will be with us, bright and early!

With them originally having planned to come mid-week this, of course, meant that this past weekend, the children, Flyfour and I did some work in our garden. It was normal autumn things, pruning back the sweet peas, weeding, picking up leaves, deadheading etc. Things that we would have done eventually this Autumn, but with having our fab garden team booked in gave us a more urgent deadline!

Flyfour sweeping after mowing the lawn


Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Avenue Q #Review

We had two tickets to go and see Avenue Q thanks to Milton Keynes Theatre and Top Ender agreed that as she went not that long ago with Flyfour, in Northampton as a Daddy Daughter treat, that it was time for Dan Jon Jr to go and see it and to finally understand some of the quotes that our family seem to have ingrained into our consciousness, as Flyfour and I originally saw the show a good eight years ago and immediately added some words and phrases to our vocabulary.

Just in case you have no clue about Avenue Q, it's a musical comedy featuring both Puppets and Human actors... it's basically a very famous Kids TV show for grown-ups and teenagers and kids like Dan Jon who are a little bit more mature and ready to hear songs about porn, depression, sex and alcohol... I know it's not the sort of thing you'd think I'd go and see with an eleven-year-old either.

The touring cast of Avenue Q

However, I've never been one to be accused of being sensible, so off we went. Even saying to the lovely lady at the Theatre who said the show had an advisable age of 14, that we had discussed this as a family and having seen the show a few times before, I was happy to be taking Dan Jon to see the show.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Babysitting And Ragers!

Many years ago, I used to babysit for what seemed like the entire town I grew up in. Seriously, I babysat almost every night, sometimes even babysitting for multiple homes in one night. And I loved it. Those young children that I looked after for a few hours, whilst their parents were out were like my little brothers and sisters, in fact, three of them were my bridesmaids because they meant so much to me and my family.

Recently, one of the little girls I used to babysit for has moved near to where I live now. Of course, she is all grown up, married and has several young children of her own, but it is great to see her every so often out and about in the community and at Church and just being the fabulous woman that she is.

It's made me a little nostalgic however, I mean look how cute I was!

PippaD at Church in 1998


Monday, 9 September 2019

Five Things I Learnt In My First Week

Last week was my first week in full-time employment in about eleven years and as I spent time over the weekend thinking about how I did, what I could do better and what my plan of attack for the next week would be I realised that I learnt five things and I wanted to share them with you.

Now, these five things might not be groundbreaking, they might not even be things that I should have taken from my first week but they are things that I feel that I learnt and things that I know will stick in my memory too.

Pippa on her first day of her new job

Saturday, 7 September 2019

What We Are Eating W/C 7th September 2019

Writing the meal plan for this week was like pulling teeth! It was hard, it was painful and at the end of it, I didn't want to eat anything, do anything or even get up off the sofa. However, after a lot of consultation with the family, a few eye-rolls from me and not helpful suggestions from a google search I finally decided upon what we'd be eating.

September is a super busy month for us as a family, so I wanted some meals that we all love, that are relatively easy to make, will fill us up and as always aren't going to break the bank with their cost. I think I picked well, especially as for four of the seven nights, it's just the children and I!

PippaD, Dan Jon and Top Ender


Friday, 6 September 2019

Tell Me Something I Don't Know

Many years ago, I learnt that if I wanted the children to tell me something all I had to do was ask them. Well, not ask them directly but ask them in a way that inspired them into answering me. The way that I got around this was by asking them to;

Tell me something I don't know.

Normally, Dan Jon and Top Ender will then tell me something that they think I might not know. It might be something that they have learnt at school, something that they have read in a book, something they saw on the Internet, or on TV or learnt at Church or read in their Scriptures or even something that their Dad told them.

It's a conversation opener and one that I love to use, and normally only allow the children to stop after they have told me three things. Which is why one Sunday morning as Dan Jon and I were on our way to Church, I asked Dan Jon to tell me something I didn't know. Dan Jon claimed he knew nothing new and so asked me to tell him something that he didn't know. In fact, he'd like to know something about Elephants.

PippaD and Dan Jon

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Dan Jon The Insult-er!

When Top Ender, Dan Jon and I were having our meal out last week the server had asked if we wanted a couple of children's menus, which I declined. Top Ender at nearly 16 is most certainly old enough to have a grown-up menu and Dan Jon at 11 could probably eat a small horse by himself if he wanted.

As we were talking during the meal, Dan Jon started to explain a thought he had had to Top Ender and I, that was amusing him.

He started by looking at me in the eye and claiming;

"I can't wait until I'm really old, like you".

Top Ender and Dan Jon, my two precious angels

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

First Day Of School

The children are both back to school today.

Top Ender and Dan Jon on the First Day of School

In previous years, I've dropped Dan Jon off at his Primary School and then walked back to an empty home, waiting for time to pass and for me to get used to them not being here every minute of every day again.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The Entertainer #Review #Gifted

When I heard that Shane Richie was going to be coming to Milton Keynes in The Entertainer, I was really excited. I knew about The Entertainer as it was a play I'd read when doing my Theatre Studies A-Level as it was by John Osborne (he of Look Back In Anger fame) and I read everything I could to try and give me a wide knowledge... also I think Shane Richie is lovely and so couldn't wait to see him in the role of Archie Rice. I was even more excited when I was given two press tickets to see it too.

As always, my theatre companion for the evening was Top Ender who was looking forward to this updated version of a play and had even gone online to research it a little as she knew nothing about it and was excited to see how a play was shown in three Acts.

A Scene from The Entertainer - Pip Donaghy (Billy Rice), Shane Richie (Archie Rice)

Monday, 2 September 2019

It's The First Day Of My New Job

It's the first day of my new job today and I'm worried.

I'm worried that I'm not good enough (imposter syndrome sucks am I right?).

I'm worried that I won't fit in.

I'm worried that I'm going to forget all the names of all the people I'll be working with.

I'm worried that my first-day outfit is wrong.

I'm worried that they made a mistake hiring me.

PippaD taking Selfies (Again!)

It's the first day of my new job today and I'm excited.

I'm excited that I've got an opportunity to grow.

I'm excited to see how I will adapt to new people.

I'm excited to meet new people and learn all about them.

I'm excited to wear something other than my "Mum" uniform.

I'm excited to prove they were right to hire me.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Called Out At Church

Before I start this post, I need to tell you a little about one of my closest friends. She is also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is in my ward and is also one of my counsellors in the Young Women's presidency. Our friendship is the sort of friendship where everything is on the table. She can tell me to my face if I'm being an idiot or overthinking things and I can tell her the same. I can tell her about any issues I'm having with my children or ask her the most stupid of things and she doesn't judge and she can do the same, although without the stupid questions as she's rather smart.

I seriously love this woman so much.

So my friend was taking the lesson one particular Sunday, the topic was "How can I be in this world, but not of it?" and she had a talk, titled Overcoming The World which she had cut into pieces and the Mia Maids were to decide if it was a snippet that represented "Overcoming the world" or one that represented "Overcoming the world results in".

Whilst they had been discussing some of them, a quote had been shared and the Young Women were busy writing down this quote, and so whilst they were doing that I had been asked to read out the snippets of the talk so they could do two things at once. Some of our Young Women are so talented, that one of the young women created this graphic in her notebook for the quote. It is so beautiful, but I'm not surprised as she is very talented.

It's not one defining moment in a life time but a life time of moments that define eternity