Friday, 3 July 2015


Many of you in the crochet world will by now have heard about Wink. Wink had the most amazing crochet blog, she was candidly honest about her struggle with depression and credited crochet and creativity with helping her beat her depression.

Sadly, Wink lost her fight against her depression. You can read her sister's touching post on Wink's blog here.

Even though I only "knew" Wink through her blog, this news has really impacted me. It seems impossible that someone so vibrant, creative and colorful could succumb to the darkness like this.  It just goes to show you never really really know what someone else is going through.  I've blogged very briefly about my Post-Natal Depression before and depression is a cruel thing.  It's misunderstood, and by it's very nature the darkenss, self-doubt and helplessness is often all consuming for the sufferer.

Kathryn from Crochet Concupiscence says all I want to say about Wink, and far more eloquently than I ever could. You can read her beautiful words on her blog

One of Wink's signature patterns was her love of mandalas.  I was at Yarndale in Yorkshire in Sept 2014 where lots of people across the globe had contributed crochet mandalas for a project by Lucy of Attic 24. (Yarndale Mandalas)  Many of them were Wink mandalas.

Now there is another Mandala Project.... Mandalas for Marinke.  Its in memory of Wink, but it will also raise awareness of depression. Here is my mandala, ready to send off:

I used Wink's "I Love Holland" pattern. You can find it in her Ravelry store.

Rest in peace Wink..... we'll all miss you. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The green trousers (style tips from Crummy Hubby!)

So, it's been hot lately... Glorious sunshine by day, but a bit muggy at night. So I treated myself to some new summer pyjamas. Shorts and a vest. Nothing too outlandish I thought.....

Well, until Crummy Hubby clapped eyes on them. First there was the disbelief that I'd bought yet MORE pyjamas (the drawer is already bursting at the seams and I have to do a season swap where the winceyette wonders get hidden under the bed in April!) Second there was his opinion on the fabric..... "They look like curtains.", he declared. "Or cushions..." 

Here is the offending fabric:

Nice and summery I thought. I told him
so. "Well I think it looks like cushions, " he maintained. 

It's the green trousers all over again!!!! 

I had a green pair of trousers. I loved my green trousers. When Crummy Hubby and I were just about going out back in the year dot I wore these trousers. I made the fatal mistake of asking his opinion about my appearance. "They're a bit GREEN...", he opined. 

So keen was I to continue to impress this man who was to become my hubby, that I never ever wore the trousers again. (Did I mention I loved those trousers?) They were consigned to the charity bag.

I am pleased to say, that now I have successfully ensnared my hubby, I no longer care as much for his fashion advice... Especially when floral pyjamas are concerned! 

So There!

Friday, 12 June 2015

Irritating things my 4 year old does.....

He's only just 3 feet tall but he can send me from a serene, zen-like state of motherhood to screaming harpydom in 3 seconds flat! Here's why......

He only eats beige food.

I'm being serious. The boy is all about the carbs. His staple diet consists of pasta (plain, no sauce) and butter sandwiches! Sometimes if we're lucky he'll eat a cocktail sausage or some cucumber. He eats scrambled eggs (his only source of protein!) and bananas, both of which are pale yellow bordering on the beige! EXCEPT if we're out. At a restaurant he'll eat pizza and pasta, with sauce! Both of which are "yucky" at home. Even MORE infuriatingly at nursery he'll put away cottage pie, Thai curry, fruity chicken, and beef stroganoff....!! Beast!

The Bickering.....

My four year old has a seven year old older sibling. That makes for a LOT of bickering. Cue He said/She said.... He hit me, she started it, he won't share, she's got my <insert name of toy here>.... MAKE IT STOP!!!!! Sometimes I feel like a WWF referee crossed with a UN peace negotiator! Which leads to....

The Whining

Why do four year olds whine so much? Why do they repeat this whining at incremental volumes until someone responds? Why does the whining start as soon as I sit on the toilet or start cooking? Also.... Why must he hang off my leg while whining?!

The "I need a wee" dance

Don't tell me you need a bloody wee, just get in the toilet and do it!!!!! You're more than capable. And while we're on the subject, when you're doing a stand-up wee, remember to point your winky away from your body (and pants, trousers and shoes!) Also - do you have an alarm that goes off as soon as I put shampoo in my hair that means you need a poo? So I have to drip water and suds all over the place while I wipe your bottom.

"No!", "You are NOT my best friend!" And "I'm not coming to your party!" 

The strops thrown by a four year old are immense.  I'm talking full on foot stamping, arm folding, frowning, yelling stropdom. Everything from having to tidy his room, to trying new food and bedtime can result in a fully fledged tantrum. Luckily it's done and dusted in seconds, as is the way with boys, but I have been known to step over him while he's writhing on the floor shrieking about how it's not fair....(if I can hear him, he's still alive!) 

Having said all that, The Wilburbeast is my bundle of boyness, and whatever he throws at me - with one smile, huggle or  sweaty kiss I'm transformed, from screaming harpydom to giggling, tickling mummy. 

Yes, I know he's got me wrapped around his finger, they both have;  I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Save our NHS

Last weekend Miss Bags and The Wilburbeast were wrestling. Nothing unusual in that... Only this time Miss Bags decided to slam dunk The Wilburbeast into the coffee table.

We were having dinner. The weans were supposed to be watching Disney Junior. Next thing The Wilburbeast comes running in, howling. Now I mean proper howling, in pain. I immediately lifted him and hugged him, stroking his hair. I thought he was sweaty from the wrestling, and it wasn't until I took my hand away I saw the blood. Crummy Hubby and I had shared a bottle of vino, we're probably over the limit. With Crummy Hubby cradling The Wilburbeast (who by this time had almost stopped bleeding) and fielding questions and apologies from an increasingly hysterical Miss Bags, I did the only thing I could... I phoned Daddy!

Mum and Dad rocked up in record time, and agreed The Wilburbeast's head needed looking at. The bleeding had stopped, he wasn't knocked out and he was coherent; so we knew he didn't need an ambulance. Dad and Crummy Hubby drove him to the local Minor Injuries Unit.  

He was seen within the hour and his head was glued back together.  First class service from the NHS.

All this got me thinking. With all the issues in the media of late about how the government will destroy the NHS and how the NHS is over-run... and inspired by a thread on my local community Facebook page where people were saying how difficult it is to get a GP appointment.... I started thinking  maybe we all need to think about how we all use OUR NHS....

I think this poster says it all really.

In our case last weekend Minor Injuries was definitely the right choice.  Had The Wilburbeast been knocked out or we hadn't been able to stop the bleeding then it would have beeen A&E or an ambulance!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

I don't know how he does it.....

Last week I was on a course at work.  This has meant that instead of heading into work at 7am, Crummy Hubby has gone in early, and I have picked up the mantle of the school-run and nursery drop off.  Together  with some careful planning and help from family and other school-run mums we thought we had it covered..... Best laid plans hey?! 
Here's a flavour of the week's early morning antics - Crummy Mummy style!
Monday - What a fab and relaxed morning.  I even managed a "lie-in" by Monday standards, and got up at 7:30.  The weans were up and breakfasting, and everything was under control.  We had arranged for Pops to be on Miss Bags school pick-up duty, and there is no nursery for The Wilburbeast on a Monday, he stays at home with Nonna, so Crummy Hubby and I were able to both work normal days (roughly 9-5).  After work, Miss Bags had swimming, I sorted out the nursery bags for Tuesday, put them in the car, left myself a post it reminder for the morning, and prepared dinner. This is easy I thought!
Tuesday - Things were more fraught this morning!  We had arranged for Miss Bags to go to a friends house, and then onward to school with them after I had dropped The Wilburbeast at nursery, but I had an early morning text message saying that he was ill!  Love her, my friend said she would still take Miss Bags in for me as her husband was at home, but I didn't want to put her out.  So we had a wee last minute replan, where I would drop The Wilburbeast at nursery, then head to work, Crummy Hubby would grab Miss Bags in the car park , and then head to school and onwards to his hospital appointment. Phew.  Crummy Hubby goes to work at 7. I'm just about to get in the shower, when The Wilburbeast wakes up and yells for Daddy.  He chucks a strop because not only am I not Daddy but  I am also not dressed.  He won't get up until I have my pyjamas back on.  A towel just won't cut it.  At this point, my alarm had gone off... so The Wilburbeast is yelling, Miss Bags is getting dressed, the shower is running, BBC Breakfast is blaring, my radio alarm is playing merrily to itself and my phone is beeping.  Not such a relaxed atmosphere this morning!  Back in my pyjamas, I get The Wilburbeast up and sort him out with milk and breakfast.  Miss Bags is breakfasting, and I can shower in peace!  I am mentally congratulating myself (high-fives all round!) on being so prepared and getting all the bags and stuff in the car the night before and running through a list of things I need to do..... OK, so all I have to do is get The Wilburbeast dressed and get all the children in the car, and leave.  I’m just allowing myself a wee few minutes respite when suddenly....  “Oh shit,  he needs lunch!”  Now I have NO IDEA what The Wilburbeast has for lunch at nursery, I never make his lunch.  I know it will revolve around a butter sandwich but what else?  I had to text  Crummy Hubby.  Finally, everyone made it to where they needed to be!
Wednesday – well this was OK, because Crummy Hubby was at home to help with all the morning hysteria.  Phew.
Thursday – I was more organised this morning. I was however, foiled by the Infant School and their failure to open the door at 08:45 for drop off.  Don’t they know I have to be at work for 9!  Those extra few minutes in the morning really do count at rush hour!  It then took me 30 minutes to battle across the traffic to work, a journey that usually takes 15 min, tops.  I guess I am spoiled by the fact that I miss all the traffic starting at 7.
Friday – this was the day that the wheels finally came off!  All I had to do was get The Wilburbeast to his friend’s house by 08:15, and get Miss Bags to school.  I pre-empted the “No, I SAID DADDY!” hysteria by leaving The Wilburbeast to his own devices while I showered, and once he’d calmed down, he went downstairs and had milk.  Despite getting Universal Free School meals at Infant School, Miss Bags has decided she hates their chips and wanted a packed lunch.  Crummy Hubby had pre-empted that and already made her sandwich, so all I had to do was sling it in the lunchbox.  We’d packed  football kit, and a wee bag of clothes for The Wilburbeast the night before, so it should have been just a case of all getting in the car.  How wrong I was…. I spent an inordinate amount of time running up and down the stairs getting jumpers, locating GymTots T-shirts, and looking for various members of the cast of Cars.  In fact, there was SO much chaos, Miss Bags declared she was worn out just watching me....!  (While standing there at 07:55 in her PYJAMAS! - just bloody get dressed will you!)
  • I forgot to turn the TV off
  • I forgot to give the weans breakfast (The Wilburbeast had a pancake in the car, and not-so Crummy Hubby had thankfully given Miss Bags cereal)
  • I forgot to implore the weans to clean their teeth (so they didn't!)
  • I didn’t do Chloe’s hair before I left  (thus requiring  another mad dash upstairs for a brush and a bobble)
  • I forgot The Wilburbeast’s coat……  Guess what – it rained! 
On top of all that, Miss Bags spent the journey to school listing my shortcomings for that morning (see above), and she and The Wilburbeast have decided that I am rubbish in the morning and they want Daddy back because he is more organised  (I’m funnier apparently though!)
I'm looking forward to next week when normal service will be resumed…..

Monday, 18 May 2015

Birthday Cake Madness.....

The middle of March to the middle of May is filled with 3/4 of the birthdays in the Crummy household. In fact, with his birthday finishing 3 minutes before Miss Bags was born the day after; poor Crummy Hubby often is overlooked on his birthday!

So, the birthday run starts with Crummy Hubby and then Miss Bags, followed 9 weeks later by The Wilburbeast.

Crummy Hubby had a meal out. Mexican and cocktails.  No cake.  No Party.

Miss Bags had a gymnastics party, complete with the European Sandwich Mountain (I always over cater... Never let it be said you leave my house/party hungry!) and a Captain America cake.

Who would have thought, 6 years ago when I made and iced my very first birthday cake, it would become a "thing"?  A thing that takes meticulous planning and thought, and keeps my overactive brain occupied from mid-Feb till mid-May. A thing that takes hours of research; I tell you, Pinterest is s wonderful place. A thing that requires food coloring stained hands and icing sugar dust all over the kitchen. And a thing that means I have to ask Mum to use her oven and promise not to make a big mess (as is my wont) ...

The Wilburbeast had a Bouncy Castle party in the garden, and he wanted a Buzz Lightyear cake. Now, he meant a 3-D cake extravaganza, I had a more modest design in mind. My good friend Jo drew Buzz for me, and also traced it on to tracing paper. I used the tracing paper design to cut out icing shapes and create Buzz himself. 

I think it worked.... While it wasn't the life size Disney creation out of Madeira cake and icing, that The Wilburbeast wanted, he soon came round.  Mind you he was too busy bouncing on the bouncy castle with all his friends to pay the cake too  much attention.

I wonder what next year will bring...

Monday, 11 May 2015

There is no way to be a Perfect Mother....

.... but there are a million ways to be a good one.

On the Bank Holiday weekend in May 2015, I was watching with one eye on the news as we heard that Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge had gone into labour.  It was great news when we heard that Princess Charlotte had been born on May 2nd.  As the 24 hour news channels made way for the story and gave it almost wall to wall coverage despite there being only 5 days left before a General Election, I had a sinking feeling.  A sinking feeling for Kate...  Not only did she have to go through pregnancy in the public eye, but also battle hyperemesisand now even after the great news that she had safely given birth the media were still camped on her doorstep.

I was amazed then, but not entirely surprised, when she appeared outside the Lindo Wing looking like she had just stepped out of a Spa Hotel after a weekend of pampering instead of a woman who had given birth a mere 10 hours ago.  At first I felt sorry.  Sorry that her first hours with Charlotte and William had been marred by the constant pressure to appear in public, conscious that when she did appear in public she would have to be, well, PERFECT.  Imagine the scene, Kate appears on the steps of the Lindo Wing in winceyette PJs, in her Ugg boots.  Hair scraped back, with a slightly crazed look in her eye she leans against William who is carrying Charlotte - because after pushing out an 8lb baby who has the strength to carry one! Sounds more like you & I right?  But would Kate have wanted to face the media like that?  Now, I am not daft.  I know that Kate knew when she married into the Royal Family she knew that with it came a degree of celebrity; and that her life would be played out on the world's stage; but surely she could have been allowed more than 10 hours of peace!??  

Once my indignation on the part of Kate, William and Baby Charlotte passed I had a far more sobering thought.

What about all the other women who had just given birth that day?

In fact, what about just about everyone else who has ever, or will ever give birth?  What about the women who were tired, sore and generally feeling like they had been knocked sideways?  The women who have that scraped back hair, the winceyette pjs and the crazed look.  The women who, with their bodies a sea of raging pregnancy hormones, often feel like everyone else is coping better than them; even though if they just talked about it they would see that other mothers feel exactly the same.  Confronted with the fairy-tale image of Kate, William and Charlotte it's no wonder we feel inadequate.  None of this is their fault though, Kate will have had a veritable army of people traipsing into her delivery room doing her hair and her make up to create the image that society demands.... and the media will be peddling the myth that motherhood is easy.

You're never really ready to have a baby, never "grown-up enough", "financially secure enough" or "prepared enough"  Having a baby is a game -changer; it's life shattering (in a good way!) and the pieces that go back together all fit slightly differently than before.  The responsibility of having a newborn who is entirely dependent upon you is huge; not only that but society heaps a load more pressure on top of new mums.  There are loads of dos and do nots, and must haves; and as new mums we must process all this information through the fog of sleep deprivation and while pondering the mystery of why our bodies haven't snapped back to our pre-pregnancy shape! I am sure it's not just women who feel like this either, I am sure that William would have loved for Kate to have had a few more hours rest before they felt they "had" to face the world.  I am sure that new Dads the world over are plagued with the same doubts as new Mums.

I don't mind telling you that for me, motherhood is not effortless.  It's the best, most rewarding job  job I have EVER had, but my goodness it's the hardest. 

In the Crummy household, we are survivors.  We've come out of the other side of Post Natal Depression. I say "we" because although I was the one diagnosed with PND, and while it was me living with the guilt, the self-doubt and the feeling that I wasn't doing this very well, my wee family were also affected. I was one of the lucky ones.  I had a great support network of friends who I was able to confide in, a supportive family and a husband who looked after me.  I had a midwife, Health Visitor and GP who understood what was happening, and who helped me overcome it.  Without that support I can't say what would have happened.  I may have overcome it myself, I may not.  I can say one thing for sure that talking about your feelings, your fears and worries helps.  You know you are not alone, you discover that other people are feeling or have felt the same way.  You work out what are normal post-natal feelings and what any be a cause for concern.  For me it was the control thing.... I am organised, a wee bit OCD and I like to be in control of my life.  Let me tell you,  with 2 children I have had to re-think my definition of "organised" and "control".  It is MUCH easier now Miss Bags and the Wilburbeast are older, but you try telling a sleeping newborn at 3am that its time for a feed (which you have dutifully set your alarm for, but the wee toerag hasn't stirred!), or that pooing as soon as your nappy is off is not the way we do things here!!

So, to the all the Mums reading this (and Dads too, because PND doesn't just affect women), if you need help - ask,. if you're worried or overwhelmed - talk to someone. Let's all be honest about how difficult being a parent can be.... .  Everyone struggles, but at least we have the luxury of hunkering down in yesterday's clothes, with a giant bar of Dairy Milk, cuddling our children and watching TV in private.