For as long as I can remember I had always wanted to have children and become a mummy, it’s the defining reason as to why the day job materialised, (teacher to 4 and 5 year olds), and why I had my children in my early(ish!) 20s. Along the rocky road of parenting there have been many moments of true joy and many many moments of utter despair but throughout it all I have always endeavoured to put the needs of my children first. I probably find myself doing that nowadays in more and more creative ways as I realise we can’t slow the journey but also because for children in a blended family, life often means compromise on their part so in return if I can compromise for them then I will. This applies across my family of half a dozen, but I thought I’d share a few instances when perhaps I’ve gone above and beyond in my quest to ensure my children get the most out of their childhood…
1.The time we went on the hunt for Zoella…
There was the time when daughter #1 (the Pesky-tarian) when asked where she’d like to go for a little night away begged to be taken to Brighton home to her idol You Tuber Zoella. (“I just want to see where she lives!”) We had a lovely weekend wandering the Lanes shopping district, exploring the pier and just hanging out. Major brownie points were earned when I happened to spot Zoe’s equally famous boyfriend, Alfie Deyes, in a car park. Yes, that’s right, I’m down with the kids! Cue one very excitable and very very grateful then 11 year old!
Miles driven: 280
Brownie points earned: copious
2.The time I made an Alice in Wonderland themed cake…
There was the time when the Pesky-tarian won the part of Alice in her school production of Alice in Wonderland and I decided it would be a fitting end to her primary school career if she took in an Alice-inspired cake on her last day. It looked great… But it took hours AND HOURS AND HOURS to make, unlike the suggested ‘one hour’ prep time of the recipe. If you feel like
inflicting enjoying the creation of this cake, here is the recipe. I am told it was very well received if perhaps not entirely fit for purpose, (serving up and eating this beauty required 32 bowls and spoons).
Time spent: 6 hours
Brownie points earned: several
3. The time I missed Lionel Ritchie…
There was the time we discovered a timetabling clash whilst at a well known festival: Meet and greet with Dynamo in the Kids Field; or watching Lionel Richie perform in the Sunday Legends slot with every other festival goer over the age of 14. Son #1 desperately wanted to meet Dynamo so I did the motherly thing and stood in line with several hundred other somewhat smelly children, (it was Day 5 of camping I’d like to highlight), whilst the dulcet tones of Lionel Richie crooning ‘Hello!’ to an excitably cheering crowd could be just made out in the distance. We eventually reached the front of the Dynamo queue as Lionel reached his musical crescendo and tearfully thanked the audience for sharing in his ‘moment’…
Time spent (missing Lionel): 90 minutes
Brownie points earned: umpteen
4.The time I queued for a very VERY long time…
There was the time that I heard of an open casting session for a ‘prequel’ to the Harry Potter movies, having been previously asked on several occasions by the Pesky-tarian if she could attend any auditions (spurred on by Alice, I assume?), it seemed like the perfect opportunity… Cue several hours of travelling: by car, by tube and on foot; followed by many, many hours of queuing in the blistering sunshine, (why does the sun shine more the less appropriately prepared you are??); followed by many, many more hours of queuing inside an enormous conference centre. This picture shows just some of the 10,000 girls who joined the soul-destroyingly snaking queue. We eventually reached our turn at around 8pm, having begun the queuing process a full 12 hours earlier, which involved a 5 minute group introduction and very little else. Suffice to say, the Pesky-tarian did not get the part… 😦 but she remains undeterred in the ambition… 🙂 Next time I’ll definitely be taking the camping chairs!
Miles driven: 270
Time spent: 18 hours
Brownie points earned: innumerable
Which brings us to the previous weekend. The Pesky-tarian was due to be away on a Youth Club camp at a youth hostel in Swansea which, it transpired, coincided with a two hour non-negotiable dance exam practice. It was my suggestion that she miss the first night of the camp, attend the dance class and then join her friends later on the Saturday afternoon. This was an acceptable compromise so we planned for our girlie road trip. I baked chocolate brownies for a mid-point snack, we chatted about anything and everything, sang along to the Adele album (twice), enjoyed the Welsh scenery and saw a sheep attempting to hitch a lift.
I dropped the Pesky-tarian off at a lovely, and now highly recommended, Youth Hostel: a converted Lifeboat House in Port Eynon, in the Gower., and immediately headed back home, unfortunately not in time for Britain’s Got Talent. Fortuitously, I had several brownies left for the return journey! 🙂
Miles driven: 210
Brownie points earned: Well, admittedly I ate 3 on the way home!
For the Chocolate Brownies:
- 185g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 185g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 85g plain flour
- 40g cocoa powder
- 50g white chocolate chips
- 50g milk chocolate chips
- 3 large eggs
- 275g golden caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 160c fan/180c normal oven and grease and line the base of a shallow baking tin, approx 20cm square.
- Melt chocolate and butter together either in the microwave or in a pyrex bowl over a pan of simmering water and then allow to cool to room temperature.
- Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl.
- In a separate, large bowl whisk the eggs and sugar together until they become thick and creamy and have almost doubled in size. This will take about 6 minutes and when ready the mixture will leave a trail on the surface for a second or two when it drips from a spoon.
- Gently fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mix, slowly, taking care not to knock the air back out of the egg.
- Repeat with the flour mixture and then finally stir in the white and milk chocolate chips.
- Pour the mixture into the tin and spread the top level. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off gently shake the tin, if the brownie wobbles in the middle, it isn’t ready, bake for a further 5 minutes. The brownie is ready when the top has a shiny, paper-like crust and the sides are coming away from the tin. Just keep checking at 5 minute intervals after the original 25.
- Allow to cool completely in the tin before turning out and cutting into whatever sized helping you desire! These will keep in an airtight container for two weeks, although I doubt they’ll hang around for that long!
As we all know the best laid plans can always go a little awry and no matter how much we try to do for our children every once in a while some beautiful little butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon somewhere and changes the course what was meant to be… It turned out this week that having missed the first night of the camp in order to prepare for the dance exam this week, the Pesky-tarian, contracted some unpleasant ‘River Lurgy’ whilst Gorge Walking on Day 2 of the camp, along with several other (un)happy campers, and was struck down… just before the dance exam!
*Pesky-tarian is now fully recovered and lives to dance another day!
I’d love to hear the lengths other people have gone to for others, or indeed themselves…