What random searchy things bring people to my blog?

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Blogging and stats go hand in hand. I tend to try and not pay too much attention to them because in reality they don’t mean much and although it’s nice to see the number of readers increase, it’s really not the be all and end all (well that Is my public stance on it anyway).

One of the things I will never grow tired of however is looking at the search terms that generated visits to Hurrah For Gin; or for the less technically minded, what people typed into Google before clicking through to my blog. Funnily, a lot of the queries seem to be in the form of questions or problems. I guess people were hoping to find authoritative parenting advice and I guess they were sadly disappointed.

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Aldi ‘n’ Proud

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***Let me just start by saying that this is not a sponsored post and that I have not been remunerated in any way for waxing Aldi lyrical. I really am writing about our favourite supermarket of my own free will. Talking about supermarkets has become one of my favourite topics. This is my life now and I’m fine with that (mostly)***

We have been Aldi ‘n’ Proud in our house for about a year now. I’ll admit I was a hesitant adopter but my husband pushed for a change after growing tired of my habit of ‘browsing’ – apparently it’s expensive and results in the acquisition of random and unnecessary products. I feel it’s always worth looking into alternative ways to mash potato, but lets not start that debate here.

With Aldi there are things you need to get used to, it’s not all pretty and full of olives, stuff doesn’t look quite so appealing on pallet based displays and the checkout process can feel a bit violent at times. Maybe we’ve become somewhat institutionalised though because now, I sort of love all of those things.

Anyway in the hope that there might be other people out there to convert, or ones that are already converted and want to share some product tips – here are a few of my own recommendations, sound of music style…

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On your first day of school…

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To my biggest boy,

When you were born a little over four years ago you were bang on the 50th centile in both height and weight. I used to joke you were Mr. Average which would raise a few glances because no one wants to be average do they? Well I don’t know, it’s always suited me rather well.

And now here we are, about 10 seconds later, and you are starting school. Being just a few weeks past your 4th birthday you will perhaps become Mr. Below Average in many ways. A little smaller, a little sillier, a little less able to get your wee in the toilet bowl. It might take you a little longer to do things, you might not always understand.

Please remember that none of that stuff matters. Don’t ever let it. We have no aspirations for you other than to make friends and be happy. Everything else that is good in life is just a by-product of those things.

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Feeling proud

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The weekend before last we all went to the park, It’s a pretty typical weekend activity for us if we have nothing planned. F particularly wanted to ride his birthday bike as has been the case pretty much continuously since we got it; fair enough.

As we were leaving J quickly grabbed a spanner on the off chance that he might fancy taking the stabilisers off. I was dubious, thinking it best he spend a bit more time getting used to pedalling first, being a balance bike fan pedals were still a very new concept to him.

I took the littlest to the play park and five minutes later I looked up to see F riding sans stabilisers as if he barely had to put any effort in. His little face beaming with excitement, like his whole world had suddenly expanded.

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A Family Portrait For August

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I have been bad this month and am very late to the party with my me and mine family portrait (sorry!). It was taken at Bodium castle which is just stunning but it’s not a great photo in itself, this was our one option taken by a passer by. The boys look a bit moody and there was a bunch of randoms standing to the right of us which the husband managed to photoshop out, not at all too shabbily ;)

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Does Pinterest make you feel like a bad mum?

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Dear Pinterest,

I’m sorry, It pains me to say this but I just don’t think we’re compatible any more.

You with your pretty ways, me with my lazy arse. If we don’t part ways now I’m afraid we’ll just end up hating each other. You see there are things you don’t know about me,  bad things. Things that would leave you feeling disappointed and let down.

Ok here goes.

1, Most lunchtimes I feed my kids *whispers* sandwiches. I’m ashamed to say they are served square and have never been cut into dinosaurs or bunny shapes. I don’t tie neckerchiefs onto their bananas and I don’t hand carve faces into their babybel. Does that make you want to weep for them Pinterest?

2, I make my kids sleep on beds! Just you know, normal beds – slats, cheap mattresses and a headboard. Not castles, boats, tree houses, nor VW camper vans.  It gets worse Pinterest – to get out of bed they just flop their feet down over the side! There’s no fireman’s pole or rope ladder, there’s not even a f*cking slide!

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The BHS school uniform range – A review

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When I was offered the chance to review BHS’s school uniform range I may have done a small fist pump because as it happens, buying the final bits and bobs we needed for September has been hanging about on my to do list for a while. I was also very keen to try an alternative brand to Clarks shoes for reasons already explained (ahem).

When the package arrived in the post I was immediately impressed with the clothes but I had one small, but very real worry. How was I going to persuade the boy to take off the Buzz Lightyear birthday pajamas he has pretty much worn non stop for two weeks? The answer – Tangfastics! Come to think of it most of life’s problems could be solved with the adequate provision of Tangfastics, but I guess that’s another blog post.

Anyway I needn’t have worried because check out the results! Man alive, BHS’s ad agency is going to be quaking in its boots; how the hell are they going to be able to justify the hundreds of thousands they charge in fees now? All they need is me, my iPhone, a garden wall and a kid who loves Tangfastics :)

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A ‘relaxing’ bath

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On one morning over the weekend I like to have a nice relaxing bath. All going to plan this involves lots of bubbles, a cup of coffee from the machine with actual frothy milk and the Guardian weekend magazine.

However it very rarely goes to plan.

Pretty much as soon as i sink into the bubbles I hear the sound of elephant feet pounding up the stairs and a booming voice in the distance.

‘F where are you going, please stay down here. I told you Mummy is trying to have a nice bath’

‘But I just have to talk to her about something Daddy. It’s important!’

[Elephant feet recommence and grow steadily louder - enter eldest son]

‘Mummy I just need to talk to you about something!’

‘Ok, whats that?’

‘Um, um, um…Do you think Lightning McQueen or Francesco Bernoulli is the fastest?’

‘Lightning’

‘Yep me too! Oh…do you need some toys in there Mummy?’

‘No thanks’

‘But you’ve got nothing to play with! I’ll just put some boats in for you and, and do you want the fireman Sam that transforms into a fire engine in too?

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How to survive a kids party

On Saturday we held F’s 4th birthday party. It was the first ‘proper’ kids party we have actually done. It sounded simple enough. Hold it in a church hall to avoid mess, get a few party bags together, make a pass the parcel, buy some crisps, blow up balloons, bake a cake – job done!

How wrong I was.

I am too scared to calculate the number or hours invested, the number of pounds spent, the number of expletives directed at ready roll icing and the number of times I flicked myself in the forehead as punishment for deciding to throw said party when we could have easily got away with it for another year.

‘BUT HE LOVED IT!’ you say.

Yes, he did. He really did. But then again he also loved watching our neighbours dog take a sh*t in the street and in any case 4 days later the party has been totally forgotten. The dog taking a sh*t in the street has not – and that was free and not my mess to clean up.

Anyway i thought i would give you the lowdown on what i have learnt about kids parties over the last few weeks in case you are stupidly thinking of hosting one of your own: -

Preparation
Every party needs a good theme. Our choice ‘poundland.’

Hostessing
Providing alcoholic beverages for your adult guests is a good rouse to make you wandering around with a drink in hand look acceptable thoughtful and appreciated touch. Remember that every party needs at least one responsible adult host – don’t debate this, just don’t be that person. Instead, faff about drinking fake Aldi pimms and delegating tasks, it makes you appear important and in control.

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To my biggest boy on your 4th…

We have been so excited for you turning four. This year you have more of an understanding about time and have been quizzing us on ‘how many sleeps’ for a little while now. It hasn’t been at all irritating though i promise ;)

I jest of course because I know we have been more excited than you, looking forward to seeing your face when you got your shiny red pedal bike. We considered taking you up to London or to do something out of the ordinary but when it came down to it we knew you’d prefer taking your new wheels out for a spin along the prom. You know what you like and you like what you know and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.

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