Monday, 28 April 2014

Chocolate and me

I've always loved chocolate, I wouldn't go as far as to say that I'm a chocoholic, if indeed such things really exist, but I do love a bar of yummy milk chocolate.  It hardly ever fails to cheer me up, and with a cup of tea it's a classic combo.  Back in my University days, our JCR (junior common room) had a chocolate machine that took coppers.  Even when my student grant (yes, I am old enough to have received one of those) and overdraft were at their out of money extremes, I could usually still scrape enough money together from assorted 2p and 1p coins lying around my room to get my chocolate fix.
While in the second and third year, and out in the community in our shared house, Coronation Street struck on the evil genius plan of being sponsored by Cadbury's Chocolate, I couldn't watch an episode without having to eat some. Fortunately there was the 'Happy Smiley Man' who's shop (run by the happy smiley man, and his twin brother, Mr Miserable) just across the road.  Close enough to get too and from in the ad break.

Cadbury chocolate and me

When it comes to chocolate and me, Cadbury's has always been number one.  British Cadbury that is, when I came over to New Zealand a few years ago, and tried the Cadbury made here in Dunedin, I was less impressed.  It got worse, a few years ago, production of New Zealand Cadbury for the most part stopped, and they started to sell Dairy Milk from Australia, which, to not put too fine a point on it, is vile. It doesn't melt in the mouth the way chocolate should, apparently that's so that it does melt in the (mostly likely air-conditioned) shops over there. For a while it included palm oil too, but they apparently removed that after pressure from consumers.  Either way, it's not nice, but other than the odd Easter Egg, it's what all of the Cadbury over here is.

New Zealand Cadbury chocolate and me

Whittaker's Chocolate and me.

Around this time I discovered Whittaker's Milk Madagascar, I'd tried their normal milk chocolate and been unimpressed, but this was lovely.  Finally a New Zealand chocolate I could get on board with.  It got better too, Whittaker's then introduced a five rolled version of their normal milk chocolate.  I'm not sure what it does to it, but their standard milk chocolate is now divine.

The divine milk Madagascar from Whittaker's.

Chocolate from home

A couple of weeks ago, I got a package from home with some British Cadbury's in it, I couldn't wait.  Except, when I ate it, it just didn't taste right, it had that funny crumbly texture that the Aussie stuff has.  (Which by the way always makes me think of the friends episode with the mocklet.) It was a new shape, and I was more than a little suspicious, especially when I read on the back that it was made under licence rather than saying made in the UK.  I did a bit of research and stumbled across this blog post.  So it seems that British Cadbury's isn't made there any more, shame on you Kraft.  At least I've found Whittaker's now I suppose......

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Do it myself

I've always been one of those people who think that they can do something themselves rather than buying something or getting someone else to do it.  Being a 'do it myself' kind of person is both a blessing and a curse though.  It does save me money, it does mean that I can get things that I other wise can afford and that I try to do new and different things. But, of course, it doesn't always work.
I blame my Mum, she's exactly the same.  When I was younger, it didn't matter what it was, Mum would be willing to give it a go and do it herself.  Not that I'm complaining really, it did mean that I ended up with the most fantastic hand embroidered wedding dress that Mum made me. She also made the bridesmaids dresses and her own outfit, I made our jewellery and did the wedding invites, and decorated the reception..... you get the idea.

A 'do it myself' wedding dress

Where it falls down, is that no matter how sure I am that I can do it myself, there are clearly some things that are beyond me, that I can't do.  I recently fell into the 'do it myself' trap with my phone. A little while ago I dropped my phone on the floor and shattered the glass (sob) with over a year left to run on the contract I'd got a few options: Buy another cheaper phone to get me through, pay someone to fix it, use it with a shattered screen, or try and fix it myself.  I suspect that you already know where this is going....
I ordered the parts from ebay, and then followed a video (a not very clear or complete video) on youtube.  After replacing the cracked glass, I tried turning it back on and...... nothing, it doesn't turn on or work at all now.  It looks great mind you, nice, unbroken, clean glass, but that's about it.  So now I'm back to square one, and wishing that sometimes I didn't try to 'do it myself.'

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Easter Bunny Angst

I really don't like the Easter Bunny, it's not something I'd even heard of when I was a child, and now as an adult, when my kids are talking about the Easter Bunny, I have a real problem with the idea.

Big bun, not exactly the Easter bunny

When I was little, we were given chocolate Easter eggs, and Easter gifts, but they were just given us by our
parents and family, there was no talk of a rabbit bringing eggs.  The first time I came across the Easter bunny was in a Snoopy cartoon, which is probably why I've always thought of it as being an American idea.  According to Wikipedia, (so it must be true) it actually came from Germany.  Either way, it seems to have spread worldwide, and now my children are asking when the Easter Bunny is coming.  They seem to want to believe in a rabbit bringing chocolate treats, so I suppose I'm going to have to go along with it.....

Childhood Easter

When I was little, we sometimes got chocolate eggs, but more often than not, we would have a gift of some description, maybe clothes or something from Grandparents.  Mum was rather more creative though, and would often make us something, I remember one year opening my chocolate egg to find a pom-pom chick inside that she'd made, opened the egg, put it inside and then re-wrapped in the silver paper.  Another year she made us all Edd the Duck puppets, exactly like the real thing.
I haven't quite reached such levels myself, but fortunately Mum hasn't lost her touch.  Yesterday in the post four fabric eggs arrived filled full of little toys and chocolate.  The girls have little egg shaped bags, while the boys have got a fabric egg shaped box.

Alternative Easter gifts

I'd better sort something out for the children for Easter from the Easter Bunny, I may not like him, but seeing as the kids are keen, I'll just have to put up with it, I'll just have to eat a bit more chocolate to cheer myself up.

Monday, 14 April 2014

The bittersweet passage of time

I love being a Mummy to small children, and although at least two of my children are now at school, I can't really imagine not having small children.  Don't get me wrong, I'm really looking forward to the next stages, seeing how they grow and change as time passes. There will always be a small part of me though, that wants to keep them as small children always, it's a bittersweet feeling, watching your children growing up.

The passage of time

When it comes to children, time really does seem to fly, and their birthday's highlight that time moving on.  Lena will be four in a week, I'm not sure quite how that happened, it only seems a few weeks ago that she was a tiny newborn baby.  As much as Lena ever seemed like a tiny newborn that is, she might be the smallest baby at 6lb 6oz, but she always has had a personality that's larger than life, and the look of someone who's been here before.

Bittersweet passage of time

She often tells me about when she was a big girl, or a Mummy and even the other day, when she used to be a cat, but I suspect that has more to do with her over-active imagination somehow.  Either way, four is nearly here, which means she's only a year from starting school.


There are of course some advantages to the children getting older, as I said, I'm really looking forward to seeing what they children do and become as they get older, and the older they get the more that they are able to do with us and each other.  Just yesterday I was in the kitchen when I suddenly became suspicious that I couldn't see or hear Anja.  Anyone who's ever had a toddler in the house will no that silence usually means trouble.  I quickly had a look around, and found her having a lovely game of picnics in the hall way with her big sister.  A couple of months ago she wouldn't have dreamt of sitting down and playing with her sister, just a sign that she's getting older.

Children growing up

They're all growing up so quick, it really is bittersweet, the passage of time, but it's a lot of fun too.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Worst times of the day

Having children is wonderful, but there are times when they drive me crazy.  In particular there are two times each day that are the worst times of the day.  Those are the moments that would push even the most sane of us over the edge.

Breakfast madness

Breakfast times are manic, they have to be up there when it comes to talking about the worschool  the week though, there are lunch boxes to pack; which is one of those little jobs that I hate.  I've never had a great deal of creativity when it comes to packing a lunch box, but having to do two every morning is horrid. The thought that in a few years there'll be four.......I think that the kids might be doing their own.
It's not just the lunch boxes that make breakfast time one of the worst times of the day though, it's the rush to get everything done: Deciding what people want for breakfast, eating breakfast, getting dressed, getting ready for school, getting out of the door on time......
Every morning, no matter how organised I start off being, it all seems to go down hill, shoes disappear, car keys wander off, school bags vanish. Stress.
Monday was worse than ever this week, in the early hours of Sunday the clocks went back.  For most people, this means a lie-in, for people with small children it means that they wake up 'earlier' or what is now earlier.  You'd think that gave us more time, but sadly not.  You see I was up, showered, dressed and all the usual things were done by about eight, half an hour earlier than they needed to be, and I fell into the I've got enough time trap.  Before I knew it, it was five to nine and I was shepherding reluctant children out of the door and into the car.

The evening meal

evening meal one of the worst times of the day

Every parent knows that the hours between around four thirty and seven pm are some of the absolute worst times of the day.  Combine tired children, cooking an evening meal with your own need to sit down and relax, and you know it's not a good combination.  The whole house descends into madness and sometimes it really feels as though you've achieved great things if everyone makes it through to bed time in one piece.  Oh yes, evening meal time is definitely one of the worst times of the day.

I don't mean to moan, and most of the time it's all good, but getting through these worst times of the day can really take it out of you, and make you enjoy that sit down at night even more.  The good news is that it's nearly school holiday time, so those worst times of the day aren't nearly so stressful or frantic.