Sandy’s First Day of Nursery

On Wednesday 19th August 2015, I officially became the mother of a big boy.


This beauty, this love, this absolute hunky dreamboat of a boy…


… well, he went to nursery for the first time ever.


It’s his local nursery and he’s going four mornings a week. We got his little uniform ready and the big day dawned, so we got up, mourned the end of lazy mornings not dressing til after Roslyn’s midday nap, and headed out to walk to his first morning there!


My big lad!


(Aside: see Roslyn ending herself in the background as I shouted “big poos! jobbies” etc to make Sandy smile for the photos)


At this point it would be very unwise to inform me that soon enough it will be Roslyn going too, as some cheeky blighters have chosen to do *stern*


So here he is in all his glory…


My big boy… *sob sob* excuse me while I cry into my pillow and think of the little scrap of flesh he once was.


We walked over and went inside, found his coat hook and bag cubby (labelled with his own little independent I-go-places-without-my-mummy name *sob sob*) and met his teacher. We wandered into the classroom and he just walked off and played. Just like that. So we left and went into the room to wait and just be there if he needed us. We checked on him through the window on the door a few times and saw him playing with the water and generally exploring. He came through to meet us after an hour quite the thing, the only negative for him being the perplexed feeling he got when told they only had milk or water, not juice. Can’t win them all though, can we?


As Stuart and I walked home with him he said that, as much as he didn’t want to sound like a cliche, it was the first day of the rest of his life. His own life that doesn’t necessarily revolve around his family, namely, me and Stuart. I agreed. It just feels far too soon somehow.


The next day didn’t go as smoothly as he cried and said he was shy and didn’t want to go in. The teacher asked me to leave and stay in the room to see if he settled, and I could hear him shouting “mummy! MUMMYYYY!” as I walked away which was hard. But I’ve been there before on his days with his grandparents so I wasn’t too phased. In the end he lay on the floor for five minutes refusing to speak to anyone then got up and started interacting. He had his snack and I was told to come back in an hour and they’d call if I was needed. I wasn’t and he spent his 1.5hours happily without me. He later told me that he’d had milk and a banana as his snack and that he “played with toys and water with girls”. Super stuff.


He’s not been since that second day due to illness which has kept him off all week long. He will be back this week and hopefully will progress nicely to spending his mornings happily there.

Go Sandy!

Mum’s Birthday/ Marjorie Visits

Just a quick one. I’m squeezing a blog in now as I’m about to head out on a spa break! It was me and Stuart’s 5th wedding anniversary yesterday and stuart surprised me with a last minute overnight stay at Mar Hall with a full body massage and mud treatment for the pair of us, plus dinner and breakfast. To say I can’t wait is an understatement. Roslyn was in hospital overnight again two days ago and Sandy’s been unwell too with a temperature. Between the one hours sleep on hospital night and the consistent whining, moaning and fighting from the pair of them this spa break could not be timed better. I thought this as I wrestled Roslyn’s shoes on while she headbutted my chin, before cheerily bundling them off into the car to Gran’s house. BYEEEEE!!

I’m sure I will be missing them in, I don’t know, about 30 minutes, when I come across a pair of pants in the sink or a bottle of festering milk from three nights ago lodged down the back of the sofa. My sweet babies.

It is Roslyn’s first ever sleepover with Tate and Pa tonight. Hooray for me but she still doesn’t actually sleep so Tate and Pa are officially a pair of suckers. Enjoy the wee hours guys!! (I kid. Kind of. Well, let’s see…)

So I digress but here are a few photos from Mum and Sandy’s joint birthday party (yes, he is the queen) which was also Marjorie’s visit. It was a lovely afternoon and I will let the photographs speak for themselves as I rush off to de-fuzz in preperation for being pampered, well fed and given a FULL NIGHT’S SLEEP for the first time in several years. Cheerio!






Sandy’s 3rd Birthday: A Day Out with Thomas!

The day after Sandy’s third birthday party we celebrated his actual birthday.


He awoke in the morning to a little pile of presents and balloons.


Roslyn helped him open his gifts…


… and by helped of course I mean try and destroy things. Cheeky babe.


The photo says it all when it comes to Sandy’s reaction to our main gift to him; Tidmouth sheds to add to his train set. We advised any lovely gift buyers that more track and pieces for his brio was the best present. He’s so into his trains and the brio set is such a lovely toy to build.


We got started on a mega track…


And soon it was time for cake again!!


Sandy blew out his candle…


… and promptly stuck his face right in the cake, as is his tradition!


Rozzie got some too and then it was time to get ready to leave for the other part of his birthday present…


… a Day Out with Thomas at Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway!


We spotted Duck steaming along while we waited for our ride.


And you can just see the fat controller in the background here.


And of course the main man was waiting at the station to see us…



Then it was time for our train ride pulled by Hiro I believe.




Cheeky chops enjoyed the ride just as much as her brother and was even wearing one of his Thomas shirts for the occasion. We will need to get her one of her own!



When we got off at the other end of the journey – having watched the steam and been in the dark tunnel! – we found a chair swing ride, home baking stall, thomas face painting and temp tattoos and a puppet show all waiting on us.


Sandy loved the chair swing and went on twice. Roslyn and I got tattoos and Roslyn’s lasted several weeks somehow, making her look mega macho. Sandy watched the puppet show on Daddy’s shoulders enthralled by the whole thing, laughing away at Mr Punch, which was so very cute. He’s such his own person now, and growing far too fast (as following nursery posts will attest to!)


Happy Birthday to our little Sandy, the best boy a Mummy could ask for.

Sandy’s 3rd Birthday Train Party

We celebrated Sandy’s third birthday with a train themed party, due to his borderline obsession with Thomas the Tank Engine


Sandy tucked into the food before the guests had even arrived!


I made this kinda good, kinda creepy thomas from cardboard which went down well on the whole and continued to shed blue flakes of dried paint for a week after before I sheepishly shoved it in the recycling bin so Sandy wouldn’t see Thomas disintegrate any further.


The party got underway and Sandy was adorable as the host. Every time the doorbell rang he shrieked and ran for the door, opening it saying “come in to my party!!”


Once everyone was in he spent most of the rest of the afternoon driving the baby walker into things/people, as THREE YEAR OLDS do.


As you can see, I was off camera duty for once. So kudos to the old husb for the pictures.


Sandy putting out pa who was on fire…


…and daddy, also on fire.




Soon it was cake time…


I slaved – a little – over this Thomas cake. He turned out pretty well. Perhaps not THE best cake I’ve ever made but it did the job.


You can just about see Sandy’s reaction to the cake here, and the joy was all the reward I needed for hours in the kitchen moulding yet another kinda creepy face from icing.


He blew out his candle…


… but the sparkler was still going! In the end we waited til it was almost out then “blew it out” again.


We had a fab time at the party with a quick game of pass the parcel and the bringing down of the balloon net.


Thanks to all his friends and family for coming!

Sandy’s Year of Being Two

Happy Birthday to my little Sandman who turned three on 2nd August!

It’s been quite a year for my boy…


August brought the transition to big boy bed, his first time on a boat, and finally starting to eat better…


September was for exploration, berry picking and cake making….


October saw pumpkins and first jokes told…


November we wrapped up warm, and battled bugs…


December brought snow and the excitement of Santa…


January we bounced, blew bubbles and hit up all the soft plays…


February held love, athletics, orchestras and kelpies…


March saw spring, the park and the races…


April brought eggs hunts, picnics and mummy going to work…


May there was a sister’s birthday, a wedding and saying bye to nappies…


June was for beaches, gardens and parades…


And July was for holidays and anticipation of turning three.

We love you so much Sandy, here’s to another fantastic year!

Dolwyddelan, LLechwedd Slate Caverns and Portmeirion: Day 5 of a Holiday Extravaganza!

Award for longest blog post title ever? RIGHT HERE. Also potentially blog post title with the most Ls in ever, but you can thank Wales for that.


On our first full day in Wales we awoke early (a common theme in these holiday journals I’m sure you will have come to realise) and headed out. We were going to the Slate mines but it was still far from opening hours so we went for a drive to look for somewhere that Sandy and Roslyn could explore.


We drove through the countryside and it wasn’t long at all before we happened upon a castle so we hopped out and went to find a way up to it. It turns out – despite being seemingly alone in the landscape at first – it is manned buy a family who live in a farm house below the castle and a woman came out to greet us in her jammies. Very quaint and lovely. So we purchased our access to the castle and went up to explore.


The castle was in a strategic position among the hills and the strongest fortress in the area (so said the sign). That’s all I can tell you though as the kids were too exited to climb.


You can just about see us at the door. Stuart went up with Sandy first and admitted shortly after that he became rather scared and now refers to the picture of him up there as “the time I almost pooed myself in Wales”.


Speaking of poo – and we often do – Sandy was rather taken with the castle being in a field full of “sheep and cow poo” which he joyfully pointed out to us every time he saw some. Which was often.


On the way back down we saw the “PLEASE KEEP TO THE PATH” sign and realised we had indeed gone off piste. Upon heading down the real path we found a lovely waterfall which Sandy adored.


Stuart fiddled with the shutter speeds as he does so well.

After the castle we headed over to Llechwedd Slate Caverns and donned our hard hats for a trip down the Victorian mine.


We were lucky as it rained heavily while we were there, but it made little difference as we were underground. The mine was great and Sandy was very brave. Roslyn sat in the sling and fed/cried because she wasn’t being fed which was the best we could have hoped for really.


They keep cheese under there to mature because the temperature is so stable. Mmmmmmmine cheese!


When we came back above ground Sandy and Rozzie settled in to do some slate crafts, making their own decorated coasters.



Then we all dodged the rain and headed to the car to go on to our next location of the day, and the main reason I wanted to go to Wales…




Portmeirion is a tiny town near Porthmadog made by Sir Clough Williams Ellis in the style of an Italian village.


I first visited about 15 years ago with my parents and brother and have never forgotten how beautiful and magical it was. When we went back I was not disappointed. We went for lunch and then out to explore. Roslyn promptly fell asleep in the sling and stayed that way for three hours while Sandy, Stuart and I wandered.

There are many fountains…


…tropical and traditional landscaping…


…and much to Sandy’s delight a tractor ride through the woodlands.


When the tractor stopped at the high point and we all got out to enjoy the view I decided to stay in the hills with Roslyn (still sparko) while the boys bumped back down on the tractor.


Poor Sandy made the wrong decision to get back on the tractor as he missed the play park just along the road. But I can’t blame him because he loves tractors so not continuing the journey would be like blasphemy to him.


The woodland walk is a myriad of growthy areas with secluded paths, hidden ponds and secret constructions. Gazebos and arches appear in the distance and a simple off shoot to the road brings you to a chinese lake.


Walking through the trees took me right back to my youth, exploring with my brother, only this time I had my own child sleeping heavily on my chest.


It was such a calm and peaceful time in a holiday which – unexpectedly with young children – was pretty much non-stop action.





When Roslyn and I reappeared in the village we found Sandy and Stuart (can you spot them?)


After a break for tea and ice cream the kids decided to splash.


Sandy was desperate to paddle so we did. Luckily he had his nice underwear on ;)


He found pennies thrown in the fountain and threw them further.


Before we had to head back for dinner we went down to the coast again and found a boat built into the wall which Sandy was so taken by he cried for it all the way back to the car.


Portmeirion was wonderful and truly one of the high points of the holiday for me. Little did I know though that the low point was right around the corner.


We went for dinner and to bed and in the night I woke to norovirus. It was not the best night and I woke thinking I might be able to rest while Stuart took the kids and recover for the last two days of the holiday. We asked the staff at the hotel about swapping our night in carlisle that evening for another in porthmadog and they seemed hopeful so Stuart took Sandy and Roslyn to the beach and I tried to rally. Suffice to say I didn’t and the hotel then informed me we couldn’t swap. Stuart text me to say that Roslyn too had started to be sick and the idea of all four of us sick in a hotel for two nights seemed like hell so we packed and drove.


Luckily Stuart held off being ill as we journeyed the five hours home. It wasn’t the most pleasant of times but we coped. Sandy was an angel and seemed to know we needed him to be good, so he dozed and then played on the ipad, not once complaining as we counted the hours and minutes before arriving back in Scotland. Never have I been happier to get back to my humble abode!

In the end Stuart’s illness was shorter lived than mine or Roslyn’s and Sandy avoided it entirely. It wasn’t the best end to the holiday but it didn’t take the shine off of what came before. We had a fabulous time down south and can’t wait to do it again.

Happy Holidays!

Chesterfield and Derby: Day 4 of a Holiday Extravaganza

We awoke on the morning of the fourth day of our holiday practically early enough to see the sun rise (yes, Roslyn again) and that it was going to be a warm and sunny day. We had breakfast in the local Tesco (rock n’ roll) and then searched for an impromptu activity to take up the three extra hours we had been gifted by our youngest. We found Barrowhill Roundhouse, a railway roundhouse which was free to visit.


Despite having spent a whole afternoon at the rail museum just days ago, Sandy was just as excited to see all the big engines in here.


Roslyn wasn’t as happy though because there wasn’t a clean place to let her roam so she spent many minutes wriggling and wailing in my arms wanting down. She’s wearing her party dress you see.


In the end we just let her down and she went to the party a little grubby.



Soon it was time to go as nap time loomed so Sandy threw a tantrum in the gift shop and Roslyn tried to wreck everything. Standard.


We headed to Derby and checked in to the hotel and got Roslyn a nap while Sandy played on the ipad then we headed to the party.


The party was for Sandy’s mumsnet group of babies born in August 2012. We had a joint 1st birthday party which was fab and then there wasn’t a 2nd one as too many of us were busy popping out more, myself included.


The kids had a fab time at the soft play and it was great catching up with friends.






After the party we went to the hotel and to bed, shattered and ready to rest for the big drive to wales the next day…

Sheffield: Day 3 of a Holiday Extravaganza

Day 3 of our holiday started at the delightful time of 5am with the awakening of Roslyn who is part baby part cockerel. Our rising followed a night of ridiculously bad sleep as Roslyn had cottoned on to the fact that we were reluctant to let her cry in the hotel and wake fellow residents. Leaping out of bed and grabbing her instantaneously each time had taught her that whenever she stirred she would get cuddles and milk within 5 seconds of a cry. This trend continued each night for the rest of the holiday and has not abated since our arrival home. Thanks Roslyn. You little chancer.

Despite our vigilance at night the residents of the Elmbank hotel the next morning were less forgiving than we were, when – at 7.30 amidst the cheery sounds of cbeebies, fart noises and manic giggles – someone shouted “SSSSSSHHHHHAAAAAAUUUUUUTTTT UUUPPPPPPPPP!!!!” then slammed their window closed. Oops. I felt bad, but also felt like I’d done above and beyond by keeping them quiet all night til that point. Half seven is still a good lie in for zombie parents and retired holidaymakers alike, yeah? Yeah?!

Anyway! We shipped out quite speedily after that and hit the road towards Sheffield.


The National Emergency Services Museum was another impromptu stop off. The journey from York to Sheffield only took an hour and – haven risen with the sun – we were there well before the late morning date I had for work (more to follow) so I googled things to do in sheffield, saw some nee naws and knew it’d be a winner.


Sandy was thrilled to ride on the Coastguard quad and was pretty gutted he had to remove the helmet. If only he weren’t so wobbly we could’ve left him there for hours and we would’ve actually been able to read some of the information on display. As it went we spent a good hour and a half chasing these two from vehicle to vehicle and at least twenty minutes cajoling them off of the fire simulation where you could pretend to put out a flaming bin yourself.


We spent an inordinate amount of time putting on various helmets, which, as you can see from this picture, was all for the kids…


By this point in the holiday I was right in the daft touristy photo swing of things and happy to pose in any manner of situations, no matter how ridiculous it made me look.



The museum itself was fab. Situated in the old fire station it had a gritty feel to it, with all the sights and smells of the past making it feel very real. The volunteers running it were very helpful and one even demonstrated the fireman’s pole in use before letting Sandy get a mini shot himself.

Before long it was time to move out as I had a standing date at Outokumpu, the steelworks which made the panels on the Kelpies. So after a detour to the wrong place and the effort of getting into the place which was akin to going through airport security, I met the guys and had a tour of the warehouse where laser cutting of Kelpie pieces took place. I think I looked very fetching and anticipate safety shoes to be the next big thing in fashion.


Next stop was to visit Marjorie, my Great “Aunt”, and therefore Sandy and Rozzie’s Great Great Aunt!


Marjorie took us to dinner not far from here at a place with a play park in the outdoor seating area which was fabulous as the kids played while we chatted. After dinner we headed back to Marjorie’s for strawberries and ice cream which Sandy was particularly pleased about.


Outside we played with bubbles…


…and inside we marveled at the kids’ ability to find amusement in the simplest things.


We even managed at group photo, not far from bedmeltdown time, where every single one of us was looking at the camera! Score!


It was lovely to see Marjorie and to know we would be seeing her again soon as she is up here in just over a week too!

We headed to our hotel in Chesterfield and promptly crashed again, ready for another night of no sleep followed by a day of much fun to come…

York: Day 2 of a holiday extravaganza

We started out our second day on holiday by waking up surprised to have not had an utterly sleepless night. Then we did a leisurely arrangement of ourselves for venturing out. Despite it involving a 30 minute long bath we were still on the streets of York by 8am and at a loss for what to do. We grabbed some breakfast then headed back to the park beside Yorkminster where the kids roamed happily in the sunshine.








After that we went to York’s Chocolate Story. And by went I mean faffed about going the wrong way based on hunches for half an hour. But it was okay because we were early as ever and actually arrived bang on time, taking part in the first tour of the morning. The tour told us all about the history of chocolate making in York and involved eating a lot of chocolate so it was a win-win. We had chocolate drops, an aztec chocolate chilli drink, quality streets and chocolate to taste professionally. There was a computer projected machine which turned the beans into chocolate and Sandy was the one who moulded the chocolate.


After that we got to make our own chocolate lollipops which Sandy enjoyed, pouring a ridiculous amount of sprinkles on to his. While they dried we saw a chocolatier make moulded fondant chocolates, and then we got to eat them all. It was great and I’d go again for sure!

Roslyn fell asleep fairly soon after the tour as she was shattered still from the day before so while she napped in the sling we walked to the castle and found a carousel for the boys to enjoy.


Sandy was brave and went on a horse this time; previously he’s always opted for the seats. He chose “Paris”.


We went to the castle but didn’t go in as it was a good climb and we had the buggy. Instead Sandy scaled the hill despite notices not to.



After that we wandered over to the National Railway Museum. Roslyn woke when we entered and were greeted by the most lovely staff. We went to the restaurant for lunch which is themed like a dining car before heading into the main part of the museum to explore.


Here we are on a very fast chinese train… (excuse my not knowing anything about the trains as the two littles didn’t exactly respond favourably to standing and reading)


They have a brilliant place for young children to play with brio tracks, soft play type things, a model train to build and a pretend ticket office. We spent an hour alone there while Sandy and Roslyn played away.


Roslyn had her first holiday romance as a younger man (9 months) crawled over to her and they started hugging and kissing for a long time. It was very sweet.


Sandy loved playing with the model train and dressing up in the hard hats and vests. He was utterly adorable in the ticket office sticking his head out of the window saying “tickets please! you go to the seaside now” before running around the place handing out tickets to anyone who he saw.


We managed a (rather overexposed) family photo!


All in all it was a fabulous place to visit. I can’t believe it is free as it is so expansive, you really could spend a whole day if not several there. I wish it was close to home so I could take the kids every week!


After the museum we headed to another burger joint called Byron which was delicious. When we entered we were that family everyone dreads turning up to thrash and cry next to your relaxed meal, but luckily once the food was going in S and R chilled out a bit and everything calmed down.


We headed back to the hotel utterly exhausted and put the kids to bed straight away, stupidly thinking that the decent nights sleep before would be replicated…


Day 3 coming soon!

Gretna to York: Day 1 of a Holiday Extravaganza

We are just back from holiday. In fact we are back two days earlier than expected but, for the sake of INCREDIBLE SUSPENSE, I won’t tell you why just yet. For now, here’s our first day of the holiday.


We set out from home at half eight in the morning and by ten were at Gretna Green for our scheduled stop to break up a three and a half hour journey to York.


The famous blacksmith’s shop is a great stop over point, albiet quite touristy (but secretly I lap that stuff up anyway so it was a win-win).


The littles burned off some energy in the play park which was ideal so they didn’t combust in the car.


Anywhere that gets one of these things ticks a box in my daft tourist check list (which also contains ‘sells photo magnets’, ‘is a little bit kitcsh’ and ‘has a maze’ for what it’s worth)


Coincidentally this place also did have a maze so we checked that out once it opened at 10am which – unlike the rest of the population – is practically midday for parents, and therefore a daft time for things to open. However, nearly every attraction opens at 10am and we routinely found ourselves leaving our hotel room at 7:50 and trying to find things without doors to do for two hours before we could get into places, by which time the kids were either hungry or tired or both so you know how that goes. Stuart decided he’s going to open a branch of tourist locations opening at 8am for families around the country because of that.


Anyway I digress…


The maze was… aMAZEing. Yes, I went there. Blame my new job and concession groups’ love of inoffensive play on words jokes.


One thing that was a bit of a challenge on holiday was Rozzie’s inability to walk yet. When I thought of the holiday months ago I just assumed by almost 15 months she’d be on her feet (after all Sandy was toddling away a week after his first birthday) but alas she was not. So we spent A LOT of time hunched over having her walk holding onto our hands lest she crawl through the muck (which is all fine and well at home with 20 outfits to choose from and a tumble drier).



The thing that Gretna of course is famous for is eloping to get married because of the age limit being younger in Scotland in the past so English lovers would come over to marry then return home. So in the spirit of that I asked the youngest man I knew to marry me…


He said “I do” and we sealed the deal with a kiss.


Stuart tried the same with Roslyn but she wasn’t quite ready to settle down just yet ;)


She was however okay with a public on the ground love in with her best buddy.


After Gretna we headed to York, just making the journey before any major whining set in. We checked into the hotel and then went out to source some dinner.


We had time to visit Yorkmister (from the outside only this visit) where on the steps Roslyn made friends with two pugs who licked her face. She didn’t seem to mind in the slightest!


As you can see here we got great weather on our first day and – by and large – it lasted most of the holiday.


Roslyn was happy to be able to crawl to her hearts content on the steps.


Learning with Daddy.


We went to the Gourmet Burger Kitchen for dinner which was like Ketchup in Glasgow and ideal for the kids. They even a Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Milkshake which was not the last appearance Uddingston’s most famous export would make on our travels…


Finally when we got back to the hotel the kids went straight to sleep without any fuss which was incredible as I’d envisioned real issues with the four of us sharing a room for a week. And again, to add to that incredible SUSPENSE you’ve already been waiting in, I won’t reveal how project get some sleep on holiday progressed til next time…