Sunday, 20 November 2016

Noro very good weekend

It's been a week.

What started with Tom asking what death felt like before vomming all over the couch has ended with myself, Owen, Ethan and Dave having the worst bout of Norovirus we've ever encountered.

Here's what I have learned this week:

  • We need more bedsheets
  • We need new loo seats
  • I need to clean toilets more often
  • Having an upstairs bathroom is great
  • Having a bathroom where the sink and loo are close together is a fucking lifesaver.
  • Children are better at bouncing back from illness than adults
  • My kids can basically look after themselves when they need to
  • Cold water is amazing
  • Tea and toast after Noro is basically better than tea and toast after having a baby.

Ha!  Indeed...You really do not!

I have never been so ill in my whole life.

It's really kicked my ass.

And as per usual, after a week of cleaning up after the kids, it's yours truly who ended up with the worst bout of it.

Highlights of the week have included:

  • Dave catching two handfuls of sick from Tom
  • Owen sicking down my back
  • Poor Ethan having some truly awful poopy accidents five times in a row after he 'thought it was just a fart'
  • Me giving sage advice to Ethan about 'maybe not trusting a fart at this stage in the game' while he agreed, 'no, we shouldn't'
  • Owen not being able to trust his farts either
  • Hysterically laughing with Dave as he deals with poopy baby on the couch at 3 in the morning while I deal with the whole puke/shit-fest going on upstairs
  • Me heroically going to work after what will now be known as 'The Night of Hell' while poor Dave puked his guts up with baby and Ethan at home while Tom cheerfully went to school
  • Me coming home and laughing with everyone about how awesome my immune system is..
  • ...only to come home from picking up Tom and basically go through my own awful 'Night From Hell Mark 2: The Revenge of Noro'.
  • Cracking my nose on the toilet lid which came crashing down on me as I puked violently into the bowl while trying to work out which end I would like to be over the toilet. I now have a black eye and possibly a broken nose.
  • Spending the night on the couch with the dog who kept running away every time I moved to go to the toilet (approximately every 5 mins for about 12 hours) then being greeted like a hero upon my return.  Which is not as nice as it sounds when you feel like crap and just don't want any kind of interaction.

We are all thankfully feeling a lot better than we were.  Everyone is bloody starving now, so one of us will have to draw straws to see who wants to re-enter being an adult today and go and get supplies.

Dave is basically a hero - I have no idea how he managed at home with two kids while feeling like that.

I basically haven't spoken to him for two days because me and the loo have spent so much time getting to know each other (we are getting a new non-collapsing toilet seat).

And, I found out yesterday, ironically, it was world Toilet Day.

Someone is taking the piss.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Fuel for Thought

Along with our lovely wee cottage, we have adopted a real fireplace.

We stupidly didn't use it last year - due to our 'townie' fear of burning the house down and the fact that the previous owner has been burning coal rather than wood, our epic room changing (is it a dining room?  a living room?  a general purpose room?) and first year with new baby in the house, we just didn't bother.

Owen in front of our derelict fireplace last year!

Which was daft.

As soon as we cracked on with it one blustery cold evening, we began to understand how much we lost by NOT burning it last year.

It's so, so, SO lovely to have a real fire crackling away in the background.  I suppose that it is extra work, what with the cleaning of the grate etc, but on a cold night out in the sticks, it's just what you need.

We had been burning the wood from the woodshed , which wasn't the best, but anyone who has a fireplace knows that the less money spent on burning fuel, the better - after all, burning money?  Not a nice feeling.

Burning wood is nice - there's the crackle and the roar - there's also the spitting and the flaring.  You have to watch out for that!

Once it's been going for a few hours it is lovely - but it can be tricky to get going.

I was made up when the people at Lekto Wood Fuels sent me a sample of what they have to offer.

bark briquettes

Over the last couple of weeks I've been alternating my usual wood with the Birch sawdust briquettes and the Bark briquettes.

Both burn a lot longer and a lot easier than traditional wooden logs.

They smell nice too - when I took them out of the pack to store in my indoor wood pile, they smelt very fresh and lovely.  They were easy to stack too, with none of the usual splinters!

So why burn briquettes?

Here is some info I found on the lektofuels website:

  • Humidity – Briquettes are always dry. Their moisture level is only as high as 8%, while well-dried firewood comes in at 20%. This is an important factor, because the higher levels of moisture that any heating fuel contains means you feel less heat coming off the fuel. High-moisture wood fuel also burns slower and fills your flue with creosote and soot. Low-moisture briquettes are always ready to use.
  • Environmentally Friendly – Wood briquettes are eco-friendly. They are made from by-products (pure sawdust or bark) of the sawmill industry. No chemical additives or binding materials are used in their production. Briquettes are a carbon-neutral fuel. While burning with briquettes, the amount of CO2 emitted is no greater than the amount the tree absorbs during its growth cycle.
  • Reliable Product – By purchasing briquettes, you will always receive what you ordered, because the weight and quality for each package of briquettes is constant and does not vary from one package to the next. Each piece of these briquettes comes to you in the same size, weight, and shape. Each briquette has the same burning characteristics, and our customers become quite proficient at burning them.
  • Packaging – Briquettes are packed in simple, clean, transparent plastic bags. They are easy to stack and store. Briquettes require significantly less storage space than other wood fuels.
  • Ash – Briquettes produce very little ash. Their actual ash content equals around 1% from sawdust, and about 4.5% from bark. Since our briquettes are produced without adding any binding materials, the resulting ash from this product can be used as a fertilizer in your gardens.
  • Value for the Money – Briquettes are economical to use, they last longer than any firewood, they burn steadily, and they produce even, intense heat.

They were very clean to burn - the ash swept up easily and I even found I could simply add it to the soil in my garden.

There was little to no sparking AT ALL, so were great for a novice like me - they sat in the grate without any sparks or flares, making them ideal for burning when the kids were going about - I didn't have to worry about any embers jumping out (although OF COURSE I always take every precaution and have a HUGE fire-guard)

The best thing they sent me to try, along with the briquettes, were the natural firelighters.

natural firelighters

Made from sawdust and straw, and in a pellet form, they took quickly and burned for around 15 mins each, helping my fire to really get going.

Check out Lekto Wood Fuels for more info on what they provide.

Meanwhile, I wish I could provide a photo of my lovel lit fire, but I'm almost 100% sure now that Owen has managed to send my phone to landfill as I cannot find it anywhere!  I hope to rectify this situation soon, but it is driving me absolutely crazy.  It has been a month now and no sign of it whatsoever.

Ahrgh!  Kids!

Wednesday, 2 November 2016


November is upon us suddenly.

I almost can't believe it.

Next week America chooses the path of least...well...least...and the world has the potential to end.

This last couple of months has been an especially trying time at home.

And not.

We have settled into the house a lot more now - things are very gradually starting to take shape and I think we have finally gotten over the initial 'euphoria' of a new place to live and also kind of get our heads around the fact that we are staying put.

There's been a lot of decorating, work and general other shenanigans to deal with; when you have three children things are...complicated, to say the least!

Especially when one of those children is a year old and basically into absolutely everything.

Owen is great - he's the kid we really wanted and the kid we never expected too.  He's a blonde bombshell and is just adorable in basically every way (which is lucky because he's basically also destroyed anything we've ever done in this house in every way. Let's just say we need to decorate again before we finished decorating).

The other two boys have finally settled into routine and school life and have made friends (even if Tom is still clinging on for dear life to the idea that he's never going to - he has no confidence, just like his mum).

I finally registered as a childminder and have been having total panic about it ever since, too scared to advertise in case someone actually wants to take me up on it and I have to be responsible for one more kid.  Which I'm not really worried about.  But I am.


Plus the usual head stuff: Do the other parents think I'm some kind of incompetent?  They must do when they see me just trying to handle my own two crazy, loud, over-sensitive kids (are they over-sensitive or is this normal?  Oh god, what is normal?)  They must see the outside of my house and wonder what kind of a shit-show I'm running!? Surely?  Ahrgh.

Yeesh, I just feel like a terrible person all the time.  I wish there was something I could do to boost my confidence; but then I guess it's this stuff that pushes me on.  I'm never one to shy away from a challenge.

I'm doing some volunteering two nights a week too, and it's kind of great.  There's a real sense of accomplishment and I just enjoy hoping that we make a wee difference somewhere to someone who might otherwise be having a shitty time of it.

So, yeah.

No real news. Nothing exciting as of yet.

Just...head down, keep going!

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