Monday, 28 February 2011

A contract with E-on is worth NOTHING

So, after the discovery of the broken heating yesterday, E-on rang us back today and said that they can fit us in tomorrow. According to E-ons contract we are priority customers  because we have children under 3 years old (one only being 10 weeks old). However, being a priority with E-on means that they might wander out to see you 48 hours after being contacted. FOURTY EIGHT HOURS.

We have rung them twice to highlight that we have a 10 week old and they just say that they don't have any available 'engineers' in the area. Well, I thought the idea of priority was that you went before other people who were not priorities. If I had an elderly relative who was paying £192 a year for this service I would be seriously concerned for their health.

And this appointment tomorrow is to LOOK at the boiler, it may not even be fixed then - depending on the problem.

So E-on, be warned. i'm going to carry on like this until you get the bloody heating fixed. Given that it was only serviced last week, I'm a tiny bit annoyed that it's bust so quickly in the first place. AND your 'engineer' managed to break our tumble dryer while he was here. We've got another 'engineer' coming to fix that today.

By the way - I thought 'engineer' was a term which implied a degree level qualification in engineering. I doubt if any of these technicians have that, especially ones from Eon as they appear to be crap.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

E-on you fail

We had our boiler serviced on Monday. While the guy was here he managed to break our tumble dryer by opening it while it was working. We have the tumble dryer fixers coming tomorrow.

We've just returned from a weekend away to find that our boiler is bust. The house is freezing.

Apparently the earliest E-on can fit us in was tuesday - until we said we had a ten week old baby and a toddler under 3. Then they said they would 'try' to fit us in tomorrow. They blooming well better. Sleeping bags and duvets all round for us tonight.
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Friday, 25 February 2011

Ice skating - So proud!

We took little I ice skating for the first time today. Her feet are only just big enough for the boots and we weren't sure what she'd make of it.

She's been excited about it all week but at lunchtime she said she just wanted to watch. So we said we'd get her some skates, just incase she changed her mind.

She wasn't happy putting the boots on but she had a go walking in them and was abit happier. Then she saw everyone going round in circles and that was it - she wanted to go round in circles too!

Rob took her round the first time and held her under her arms while I stayed with little m. Then I took her round, holding her hand but I'm not very confident to begin with and I think the instructors on the ice took pity on me coz when little I asked for a penguin (kids push them around to help them balance) they found her one.

After they showed her how to use it there was no stopping her! We were away from the side and having races (slow races obviously) round the rink. By the end she was trying to leave the penguin behind and skate on her own. She fell a few times at this point but it didn't phase her at all. Not bad for a 2 year old.

Yet again, it just reminded me of what an amazing little human she is :)
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Thursday, 24 February 2011

Living fast

I think I have two insomniacs for daughters.

Little i has never needed a huge amount of sleep at night. 10 hours is more than enough for her and that will be split by waking 3-4 times, even now. She's very hit and miss when going to bed as well. We used to sit with her until she fell asleep but can't do that now coz of the new baby so are training her into looking at her books or playing her ds. She loves playing peppa pig before going to sleep. Tonight it worked a treat and was asleep within 15 minutes of us leaving her. Last night was a different story. Even at 9.30 she was coming down telling us that she didn't want to go to sleep because 'it's boring'. Then she woke more times than I can remember during the night and got up for the day before 6am. I think the longest block of sleep I got was 1 hour 10 minutes.

Little m obviously still needs to wake in the night for feeds. She's quite good usually and only wakes once but last night it was more than once - I honestly couldn't tell you how many times more though coz my brain went to mush. She doesn't particularly like going to sleep at night though. Even now, she is lying next to me shouting. She even managed 2 solid hours of baby AND toddler music today. She looked so shattered by the end but was to nosy to go to sleep - she's only 9 weeks for goodness sake.

Rob wonders how we managed to get children who don't need sleep but then I think about myself. I have to be reading or playing on my phone or ds before I can drop off and little i is doing exactly the same. So I suppose it's my own fault. It's Rob I feel sorry for. On the whole, I can cope quite happily with out much sleep but he needs his sleep. Poor bloke.

We're off on our travels again tomorrow so it's back to blogs from the phone and no twitter adverts but I'll still do my one a day, hopefully!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

A caching triumph after a, not so unexpected, bombshell

Today we went to the dentist and I got it confirmed that I need a filling. The dentist had to take an x-ray but I knew that there was something wrong. I've never had to have anything done to my teeth before but I suppose that's just another price you pay for having been blessed with kids. I'm quite laid back about it coz I have no idea what having a filling involves and I don't have to have it until April.

Anyway - to make up for this bombshell, we decided to do a few more geocaches. 10 caches in fact! There is a series of caches that run from Skegness in Lincolnshire - the county in which I come from, to Ness in the Wirral - close to where Rob comes from (although he says he's from Cheshire and Ness is in Merseyside lol). so we did a few of them plus a few more nearby. We have had a spate of DNF's (did not finds) but we got every single one of these. I was very chuffed, although I was also chilled to the bone. It took me 3 hours to warm up again and most of the distance we covered today was done in the car! We just jumped out to find the caches. Anyway, I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

A good day all round

Rob took delivery of our new washing machine. If ever a washing machine could be a boys toy - this on is. It has computerised programming and flashing stuff and the like. He's been fiddling round with it whenever he gets the chance.

Little I made up with her best friend after a bust up over 'the boodine' - whatever that is - yesterday. We took her to the local soft play centre after nursery. We stayed until we were the last people there and then witnessed a first class toddler strop when we had to leave - always a sign of a good time.

I performed my first solo massage on little m today and she has settled herself to sleep a good hour before she usually drops off.

And I got to find 4 caches today.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Another test - pics

Can I post pics to the blog from my phone?
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Sunday, 20 February 2011


I'm back from the do but am already in bed so can't be arsed to do a proper blog.

Do was brill, great to see so many mates from when I was at school. Sadly, the needs of a scared man and a hungry, bottle refusing 2 month old meant that I missed out on the karaoke but it was great any way and the bride to be seemed really pleased that we'd made it. Mainly coz rob opened a few stubborn bottles of bubbly for her on sat lunch.

The girls were brilliantly behaved and got tonnes of compliments which is really lovely - makes you glow inside to know that you're related to them.

Only downer was that we completely failed on the cache front.
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Saturday, 19 February 2011

A lull in proceedings

Just a quick update on the hen weekend in bullet point form.

- chat, drinks and pizza
- fav band turned up and played
- suggestive cucumbers
- moet
- mates
- sleep
-morning, rain
- bullring, kids & escalators
- lunch and spilt apple juice
- cocktails (non alcoholic for me)

Later it might be
- hen suprises
- tapas
- karaoke
Staying in to help rob with girls

Later depends on robs needs

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Friday, 18 February 2011

A long journey with a small child.

I'm en route to a hen weekend but having a small baby and needing a baby sitter - the whole family are coming too.

The small baby is doing well, she's just fallen asleep but the toddler has already utter the immortal words 'are we neary there yet?'. Who teaches small children that phrase? Who ever it is must be having a huge laugh at our expense. She's just said it again.

I'm alittle apprehensive about this weekend. I'm not really into the whole going out thing at the moment and can't (she's said it again) drink so I'm just going as the witness to what will be very messy for others!

The little I is watching a dvd of something special in the back,m every so often, when she's not saying 'are we nearly there yet' she's shouting at Mr Tumble. A little while ago she said 'I can't see germany' which was interesting for so many reasons but mainly because we (again, she's said it) are going to Birmingham, not germany!

Anyway, must get back to making 'I'm (again) interested' noises (again) at the mr who's (again x5) been ranting away to himself while driving.
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Thursday, 17 February 2011

website recommendation for people trying to manage their weight

My Fitness Pal isn't trying to sell you sell you a diet plan or particular food. It simply works out how much food you need to survive and then takes calories off if you want to lose weight or adds them on if you want to put weight on. 

Then you just log everything you eat and drink to make sure you stay in your goal for the day. If you exerise, you get to eat those calories too. I love it. 

It also has mobile apps so you can keep track while away from the computer. At the moment I'm helping to trial the blackberry version and its given me a real kick up the bum. Since the weekend, I've lost 6lb and it's only Thursday! 

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Baby swimming lessons

Today little m started swimming lessons!

 This is her first ever underwater swim! She's only 2 months old.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

My 'must buy' for all those with a new baby

The snot sucker. More commonly known as a nasal aspirator. 

I have had two snot suckers in my time. The first was a bulb aspirator. Basically you squeeze the bulb, place it at the baby's nostril and let the bulb go. It's supposed to suck the snot out as it refills with air. This is a cheap but rubbish product. Firstly, it doesn't suck well so it doesn't actually do the job. Secondly, it's impossible to clean so if it does suck any snot, it just sits in the bulb - gross.

The second we got this year when little m caught a cold at eleven days old. We couldn't find the bulb snot sucker so rushed out to Boots. This is what we found. Now, the concept is a little gross. You put one end on the nostril and the other end you put in your mouth and suck gently. There is a filter so no snot can get in your mouth. Once you stop gagging at the thought of it, this is actually a brilliant product. You can vary the suck strength depending on how the baby is reacting and how stubborn the snot is. It's slightly see through so you can see when the snot has been extricated. When you're sucking it sounds a bit like a hoover for the nose! Also, it's cleanable. You can open the baby end and wash it out. 

So, my must have baby item is a nasal aspirator, nose hoover thingy. You may mock me now for this but when your little baby is suffering because they can't breath properly, you will also suck snot with the best of them.

Monday, 14 February 2011

The big questions over the Big society

So apparently the Big Society is being relaunched by the UK government today. This confuses me as I hadn't realised that it had actually been launched in the first place. I knew that it had been talked about but that's all that seems to be done. Talk. Revelation space summed it up very nicely for me today in his blog. What does this Big Society actually entail?

I'll admit, when I first heard the idea my heart sank. My heart sank even further when I heard it mooted that they may set up a scheme where by you could bank volunteer hours to offset care in your old age. I mean, volunteering sounds great but how they hell am I supposed to fit it in? I work, and a huge amount of prep and marking for my job as a teacher is done in my own time out side of school. I also study, admittedly I don't have to, it's my own choice but it makes me better at what I do. I have a house to take care of. I have to exercise to make sure I'm not a burden on the NHS. I have a family - I would like some time to see my family.

I felt utterly down hearted that I would be made to feel like a crap member of this country because I can't see where I'd find the space to volunteer too. Then it was pointed out that I already volunteer. i don't count it as volunteering because I do it because I enjoy it but I play in the Concert Band and we raise money for charity.

But here's the next issue with I have with the concept of the big society. Will that count? Will we have to volunteer to do things that the government wants us to do rather than things we enjoy and are good at - or are doing already? I would imagine that the Concert Band won't count because it's not saving the government any money.

Lastly, I'm also going to train to be a breast feeding peer supporter. This is voluntary and important for the NHS. Probably will save them some cash too but here's the problem. To do it properly once I'm qualified, I'll need time off work. Can't see work liking that idea.

But it all comes down to what Revelation Space has pointed out, no one knows. There's no detail to this big plan. It's all just 'wouldn't it be great' style waffle.

We need details.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A blog from the bog

I won't say what I'm doing in the bog but I will tell you why I've decided on this unfortunate location for a blog post.

Firstly, with two littlie, I'm finding that time to myself is getting rather rare. At the moment they are both asleep in my bed. Just being in the bathroom without one in the moses basket with me and the other hammering down the door is unusual. In the evenings, once they've gone to sleep, its time to listen to the mr going on and on about work or some other such annoyance. So I have to multitask. This usually means playing on my laptop while attending to the family at the same time.

My second reason, however, ties in with the end of the first. I feel like I've spent too much time on the laptop. It's on all day every day and, as is the way when you are immersed in the internet community, I sometimes find myself getting drawn into stuff. So I've decided to have some time away from my laptop - god knows my house will be grateful for that as it's a tip and I'm losing stuff I need.

Obviously though, due to the wonder of modern technology, time away from the laptop does not mean cutting myself off from the internet completely as I have a blackberry! But internet usage with the phone becomes an active rather than a passive decision.

So, now you must excuse me - I'm in the toilet!
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Saturday, 12 February 2011

Boobs and Bums (of the knitted variety)

Little i randomly asked me to knit her some trousers with a monster on the bum so I searched the internet and found this lovely pattern. It took me slightly longer than it should do due to several sleep deprivation induced stuff ups but here is the finished product. It was a fun knit!

Another fun knit is this boob. While it is fun and has a multitude of uses, I have been asked to knit this one for the local breast feeding councillors to use when assisting women having trouble getting to grips with feeding. Sadly, the photo doesn't do my boob justice.

Now I'm going back to a project that I started before little m was born - a knitted paper chain. Oxymoron?

Friday, 11 February 2011

Caption competition

This 'one a day' stuff gets abit tough at times so today I thought I'd just post a picture and leave you to decide what to make of it.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

USA, UK, Sweden, Russia, Germany, Singapore, Greece and the Netherlands

Hello to you all.

According to my stats, these are the countries with people who have viewed one of my blogs. As a geography teacher, I  love that bit of the stats. I find it fantastic that people from all those places have looked at one or more of my random waffles.

I thank you all and look forward to seeing you and further countries in the future!

I was rocking little m to sleep this morning and it struck me (as it often has in the past) just how much I love geography. I love knowing about the world in all it's forms. It's like a hobby that I'm lucky enough to do as a job. If you could take all the crap bits out of teaching, teaching geography would be perfect. Not so long ago, it looked like the government would make geography a little known subject in the curriculum and I was facing never teaching my subject again. Thankfully, with a change of administration, geography is now one of the key subjects at secondary level and I think it's brilliant.

The travel bug, that I blogged about yesterday, has been picked up and our first piece of information has been logged. You can follow it here. I was talking to little i about where the bug was going and the information that had been logged and she asked to see a map of where it was. A little later she said that she wanted to be a geographer. I'm quietly proud.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


Today I have mostly been planning my first cache placement.

Geocaching, for those who don't know, is kind of a high tech treasure hunt. Over 10 years ago the American military opened up their satellite network to the general public. This mainly led to the growth of sat navs but also to a game called Geocaching. All over the world (and even one on the international space station) are hidden little containers with logs, travelling game pieces and treasure in them. You then use a GPS devise to find them and log your visits on a web site. You can find out more here. They explain it far better than I can.

I started doing this in September when I finally worked out how to use GPS on my phone. So far I have only found 15 caches but I'm hooked. It's a great excuse for a walk and it opens your eyes to the environment so much more than you would have done otherwise. Little i loves finding the treasure and choosing what to leave in the caches for other children. She doesn't like leaving dinosaurs because she's worried they would scare anyone who found them!

The other side to the game is hiding caches. This takes a bit of planning and understanding of how the game works. So I decided it was about time I had a go at hiding a cache. I got my Tupperware box, a few toys for any kids that might find it and a travel bug.

A travel bug is a dog tag that gets moved from cache to cache by fellow geocachers. The new location is logged on the website for another cacher to find. Some travel bugs have missions. This is also the first travel bug I have owned. It's attached to a keyring with a picture of my girls on it and it's mission is to teach the girls about the world. I'm hoping that through the comments people leave on my bugs web page and tracking where it is going, little i and m will get a wider understanding of the world.

I placed the items in the box and have hidden the box in the countryside. So there it is, ready to be found, the information and co-ordinates are on the website. I can't wait to see what the geocaching community make of my first attempts at a hide.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

KIT days

I'm on maternity leave until September or October (haven't quite decided yet). I feel very lucky to live in the UK where we have the option of up to 12 months off for maternity leave. It has allowed me to parent my daughters in the way I feel is best for them.

But I am also taking advantage of my Keeping In Touch (KIT) days this time. The idea of these are that you can have up to 10 days paid in work without it affecting your maternity rights. I used one before little m was born to accompany a field trip and today I used my second one to do some marking for something that only I am qualified to assess.

Obviously, little m is only 7 weeks and utterly refusing to take expressed milk from a bottle or cup at the moment so she had to come in with me. I was a little later this morning that I wanted to be so I went straight into our morning meeting. It was the best entrance I have ever made! Everyone was chatting away like normal, then I walk in and everyone stopped and said 'aw, it's a baby' lol.

She sat good as gold and wide awake through the briefing and was brilliant all day. No crying, no poo and the odd small sick now and again!

I have got my marking done, been brought up to date with the politics going on in the place at the moment, made sure that my faculty is being run in the way that I like and had a damn good gossip with all my mates.

It was funny to see the different reaction between the sexes - the females noticed that baby first and the males noticed me. You really can't complain when you get paid to show your baby off all day! If only I could work and be able to be with my baby at the same time, all the time.

Monday, 7 February 2011

What will become of our social history?

The more I immerse myself in internet culture (and I'm pretty immersed), the more I wonder what the future will be able to get from us.

What would happen if there's some kind of cataclysmic change in our world which means we can't generate  huge amounts of electricity any more. How will people in the future access all the massive amounts of social history we are merrily logging on line at the moment? All the blogs, all the tweets. Inaccessible, or worse - gone.

The same would be true if we changed formates, like when CD's took over tapes. I still have tapes but I have nothing to play them on. There would be a few people who could access all the blogs and stuff but everyone elses access to them would be restricted by the few and so the futures interpretation of the past may be coloured by a few people with technical know how.

I don't really keep anything in hard copy any more. My musings are in a blog or on twitter, my diary is on my phone and all my photos are stored on computer...and an external hard drive...and on my ipod. (I really don't want to lose my photos). My music is on technology. Even the books I read are slowly going onto ereader.

If the worst happened, what would the future make of an era when a large chunk of its information could be missing in the ether? We call this the information age but is it possible that the future could see this time as a new dark ages?

If I can be bothered, at some point, I think I'll print off my blog posts so that my great grand children have something to read from me. But I probably won't, I have technology.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

I love my tassimo

There are many gadgets I love. My blackberry, my ereader, my laptop (obviously), my ds. I am a gadget kind of person but I really love my tassimo coffee maker.

I love coffee. I only have one coffee a day but I do love it. I didn't use to be a hot drinker kind of person but after my first pregnancy, I changed. after that, on the way into work, I used to call into Starbucks and get a caramel machiatto. Then they shut that starbucks down. I was sad.

However, months later, for my birthday, rob got me a Tassimo. Everyone who has coffee from it loves it. My mum and dad who only drink black coffee, love the starbucks blend. The two midwives and the paramedic who came out during little m's birth loved it. My friend who hates coffee loves it!

I have my caramel machiatto back. I can put an extra shot of expresso in it, just the way I like it, and still have the caramel sauce on the top like Starbucks. The whole drink costs less than £1 a go. Much better value than an actual Starbucks. And the best thing is, it's here. I don't have to travel 20 miles and get tempted by all the yummy Starbucks food. It's a win win situation.

Friday, 4 February 2011

I love this story

I particularly love this quote:
"Just go to the toilet when you feel like farting," 

I have had so many conversations with teenage boys at work in which I wish they would do just that!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Getting to grips with being a mum of two

I know it's only been 6 weeks and 3 of those, I had Rob at home with us but I'll freely admit that I'm still trying to work out how to juggle the two of them.

I think I'm doing ok. Little i hasn't turned into a terror but she's been ill on and off ever since little m was born and I'd love to be able to spend as much time as she needs with her. At the same time, these little baby days are slipping away so quickly with little m and I'm beginning to feel like I'm missing it a bit.

The house is a tip and nothings getting done but that doesn't really bother me. It's being able to spend as much time as I'd like with the pair of them.

Today little i had her first session back at jellybeans music. She's been looking forward to it all week, telling everyone who'd listen that 'they've got room at jellybeans again'. So I picked her up from nursery at lunchtime with little m. The plan was to do little m's babybean session first. I'd brought i's baby doll and ds so that she could join in or entertain herself. But at nursery they told me that she was out of sorts and hadn't eaten any dinner (a chinese in honour of chinese new year). Little i was perfectly behaved during babybeans, but got tearful towards the end. So not like her. Then they both decided they wanted a feed so I dragged them both off to a toilet and sat on the floor with them.

Between babybeans and jellybeans little i decided she needed some juice, which was fair enough, only I hadn't brought any. Lesson learnt for next week. Bad Mummy.

Little i deteriorated healthwise during jellybeans. To begin with she just wanted to sit and listen but by half way through, she wanted to go home. So we did. I feel bad for taking them now but little m enjoyed her session so I suppose I would have felt bad for not taking them if I'd stayed at home.

On the plus side, last Friday little i was ill so we cancelled our planned activities and stayed at home. In the afternoon I got the jellybeans music in a bag out and we all played together. Me, little i and little m. That was the first time I really felt less like a mum of a toddler and a separate mum of a baby and more like a mum of two.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Unexpected job satisfaction

I'm a secondary school teacher in a reasonably tough school. I've worked there 6 years now which is the longest I've worked in any school by far.

Teaching in the UK is a tough job. In my opinion, for this area, the pay is good and the holidays are great but these perks are earned a thousand times over with all the stress and additional work we do for no overtime or thanks.

But there are moments of great job satisfaction. When you walk down the corridor and hear kids talking about your lessons, in a good way! When you hear that random people around town know when kids have been taught by you, just because they've left school that day on a high and when you find out that a class that other people have written off as no hopers have excelled at their exams. These are all great moments.

However, teacher tends to be an in the moment kind of job. The students consume huge amounts of your time and effort while they're at school and then they're gone, job done. Until recently. All of a sudden, ex-students are getting in contact with me mostly over facebook but also in the street! I just want to recount 4 stories which have completely changed the way I view the school I'm at and the possible futures of the students I work with.

Like I said, it's a tough school and the tendency is to assume that there are very few prospects for those that leave it. One of my jobs is to teach a very low level BTEC qualification but one of my students in my first year there is now finishing her degree in the subject! she's had to work all the way through the lowest level of qualification and now she's going to be a bachelor in it! This was the first person who shook my view of what I do. I hate that BTEC, it's insultingly easy and I never really thought it was worth very much but look where it's got her!

Another of my BTEC students has got in contact recently because she needs another copy of her certificate. She's applying for university, not in the BTEC subject but in Midwifery - she's working as an assistant in the ward where 'One born every minute' is filmed and has decided to get qualified! It's filmed in Southampton. Thats nearly 200 miles away, I used to joke about people in the town not knowing where the road out is.

Another student who managed to find the road out is now living in London. He's an assistant manager of a bar and night club in a big hotel and got the job partly because of the subject I taught him. I'm so proud of these people!

The final student ran to stop me in the street today. He'd been sent to our school late in his education because all the schools in his area were 'full'. he was a troubled boy and I taught him religious education. I am not an RE specialist and generally get given all the students who are most disaffected with the subject. For some reasons I manage to get some kind of unspoken understanding with them and they toe the line. This bloke told me today that he's emigrating to Australian in the summer because he's got a place in the Australian Air Force. The Royal Air Force was his dream at school but, like I say, he was troubled and didn't focus on his studies. He tells me that you don't need as high qualifications to train to be a pilot in Australia. I'm absolutely made up for him.

It's the kind of determination we rarely see while the kids are with us but we must be doing something right because they become such fantastic adults. This kind of job satisfaction is far better than children having fun in my classroom or a handful of good exam results. This kind of satisfaction lasts because I'm not pleased for me, I'm pleased for them.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Heart ache and hooray.

Why do the things we love cause us the most heart ache? Yes, my car is broken again. I took it out for a run today as it's been sitting on the drive since Thursday but it seems that it used its rest period to leak all it's coolant onto the drive. It over heated badly again so tonight it is sad in the mini mans garage again. Really hoping it's a quick fix because we have somewhere to be on Thursday that we are really NOT going to miss. Little i has been looking forward to going back to Jellybeans (music group) since last Thursday when we found out she had a place again so car or no car, we're going to be there!

It's getting to the point where a new car is seriously being considered. Although, truthfully, I don't really think it's being considered. It's just looking more and more inevitable. But I have faith in the mini man. He'll patch it up again and we'll be ok for another fortnight before it decides to do something else terrible.

On the flip side, hooray for little i who has done a whole week of settling herself to sleep. Tonight was the best yet, she even read her spot the dog books until she fell asleep. No stress, no mucking about. Because she has done a whole week now, she gets a special prize tomorrow of an octonauts book. Nexts weeks challenge is to try and get her to stay asleep, or at least quiet, until getting up time.