I am So I’ve found my Marbles Mum

Marbles…

Just when I thought I was in danger of losing my last few, Himself whisked me off to the lovely Shandon Hotel & Spa in Dunfanaghy. We didn’t bother with the spa this time, just focused on some R&R… and finally got to try out their new restaurant, Marbles.

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I’ll keep this short and sweet.

It is Fablis.

Located upstairs from the bar, the restaurant is a lovely size. Tastefully decorated in silver and purple hues, it is fresh and comfortable. We gave our room number and were greeted by name. Simple but classy. And little touches like Cole & Mason table accessories and a traditional and classy cutlery setting let us know that this was a cut above before we’d even seen the menu.

The Menu is extensive without being overwhelming. A lovely variety of starters with all allergens and required info available. There is a choice of every meat for main which is something I find becoming rare in good restaurants.

We ordered a bottle of still water and a bottle of wine. Natalia was our server and when I asked for number 18, she instantly replied “The Malbec.” This is the kind of thing that makes Mammy happy. Having worked in restaurants for years, I always appreciate when staff not only do their job well, but show that they take it seriously. Instantly impressed.

We were offered the Shandon’s famous “Guinness Bread” and then served little prawn bites as Chef’s Amuse Bouche while we waited for our starters.

I opted for Pork Belly. Beautifully presented and perfectly cooked. I love the warmed grapes and puree on the plate. All flavours complimented. He had the fishcake and was equally impressed.

Then they served us a little passion fruit sorbet which was gorgeous.

I had the duck for my main course. It was very tasty and served with a little tarte tatin on top. Himself had the slow cooked beef which melted in the mouth. Sides were veg and creamed potatoes and the portions were plenty.

We asked if we could wait a while before ordering dessert and there was no problem at all. Is there anything worse than feeling rushed along in a restaurant? We weren’t at a window seat for our meal, but when one beside us became free, there was no issue in moving to it to enjoy the sunset. The pinks and purples inside suddenly made sense. The sky was the exact same colour and the whole effect was beautiful.

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My dress matched the decor perfectly!

The dessert menu posed a huge problem for me. I love a good cheese board when I’m eating out, and am rarely tempted by a sweet, but this menu was to die for. There is a trio of Creme Brulee which looked amazing. And yet, I always have cheese. Torn. Torn I tell you!

I stuck with the cheese and it was gorgeous. My one (and only) tiny criticism was that I asked for no nuts on the cheese board. (Sometimes walnuts etc are sprinkled on the plate.) The cheese board arrived, looking fab and with all of my favourites on it, but without crackers. The crackers served see, are homemade and have hazelnuts through them, and quite rightly, the chef couldn’t serve them to me.

Now, my intolerence is specific to coconut and almond, so I was able to have some sent out and I simply removed the hazelnuts. But I would suggest that even having some water biscuits or plain crackers on standby would be a clever move which would allow Nutty ones like myself to enjoy the cheese. The cheeseboard however was divine and I ate every bite of it (yes all by myself!). I shall be back for those Brulee!

Himself had the lemon tart, which I have on good authority was lovely. (Him doesn’t share desserts!) We then moved out to the adjoining bar to finish our drinks and relax some more.

The menu is simply priced at €40 per head. I LOVE THIS. Especially if out in a large group. No nit-picking at the splitting of the bill. It was worth every penny and I can’t wait to return.

Mammy gives Marbles a deserved 5 stars.

It books up quite quickly Ladybelles, so if you plan to visit over the summer months, it might do no harm to book in advance.

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(As always, my review is honest and true. We were paying guests in the Shandon and in Marbles and I am under no obligation to post this piece.)

I am Shopping with Him Mum

The weekly shop.

The middle aisle of shite…

When Mammy does the weekly shop, all ingredients and things required to fulfill the meal plan for the family for the week shall be acquired as economically and quickly as possible.

Mammy knows which shop sells what and where the best place to buy kidney beans is.

Mammy can walk into Aldi-Everything and fill the trolley without really having to think too much about it. We’re creatures of habit in our house see, the weekly menu doesn’t change much, and so even if I’m distracted, or in a hurry, or just knackered to the point of Mombie, Mammy automatically reaches for the usual and will always leave quite content that she can feed her minions for the next 5-7 days.

When DADDY goes into Aldi-everything however, while the shopping list will be acquired (mostly…how he misses the eggs everytime, I shall never know…), there is also a 100% chance that we might also acquire some new gadget or item which is completely unnecessary and altogether superfluous. Leaf blowers, power drills, strange shaped batteries, and paint… none of which taste good in a chilli con carne… have all be purchased alongside the nappies and bananas.

When I have the girls with me, I spend my time hissing things like “Put that watermelon down please”, “We don’t need wool and knitting needles” and “Would you come away from the sweets please.”

When we ALL go to do the shopping, which is rare in fairness, it is a fun experience for Mammy.

I get to say things like “Put that ski gear down please.” (We have NEVER been skiing and it is not something that is on the cards for us, like, ever.) “We don’t need a power washer” and “Would you come away from the countertop fridges please. We HAVE a fridge.”

In fairness, I don’t even see the middle aisle usually. I see the peppers and mushrooms and binbags. But for Himself, the joy of a tilecutter across from the breadsticks is utterly intriguing…and baffling.

It’s always fun seeing what he’ll bring home when he does the shopping however. And aren’t I lucky to have a Him who does help out a bit with the boring weekly tasks?

Now, does anyone have a recipe for Paint Stroganoff?

I am Screen Time Dinner Mum

“Tut tut. Look at those parents using their phones to distract their child. Tut tut.
Lazy young parents of today. Not able to handle their kiddies in public. Whatever happened to conversation at dinner? Tut tut. In my day… yadda yadda fucking yadda.”

Now. Mammy did not HEAR the actual shpeel of verbal diahorrea that was ACTUALLY coming out of the older couple’s tight-set mouths, but the looks and disapproving glances at our table (and the table beside us might I add) when The Him stuck an episode of “Ben & Bolly” on his phone were more than enough to tell us what they were thinking.😡

Now. I am not one who condones screentime at the table, either at home or in public. And actually, our 6 year old does NOT get to look at a screen when we’re eating. Not a hope… but the twoublemaker? Absofeckinglutely. 😂

The couple Saw a snippet of our day. They saw the 9 minutes where Mammy’s lovely dinner had gone cold as she’d spent her time ensuring that Princess did not launch her plate at Mini-Me’s head or SPILL the glasses of milk all over our dinner.

They DIDN’T see the 2 hours of the girls playing at their Doll’s house and in their bedrooms this morning.

They DIDN’T see the 3 hours of fresh air and exercise in Glenveagh.

They DIDN’T see the 45 minutes of colouring in and general chatter as we waited to order and eat.

What they SAW was the “We need to distract the minion for a few minutes to allow Mammy to finish her food and Daddy to order a coffee trick” that most parents turn to as a last fecking resort when their Knackered child has reached their quota of sitting and behaving like a good little girl.

I’m sure they meant no harm. I’m sure they’re lovely. I’m sure they would never have allowed it. Whatever.

Did it bother me? Eh…no! 😂 But I’m pretty sure it might have bothered another Mammy. This Bad Mammy Wagon seriously considered letting her watch another 3 episodes so I could order another glass of grapes. 😂 I didn’t. Cos see, that WOULD MAYBE have been cause for the tutters to tut.

I finished my Yummy dinner. We drank our coffee and we turned off the EBSD. (ElectronicBabysittingdevice)

Then we drove our fed, watered and quite relaxed wee family home.

And we didn’t give a tut what the tutters thunked. They didn’t see the full movie you see. They only saw the blooper reel. So really, their review doesn’t matter, does it?

Now.
A glass of grapes on a Sunday night? How very dare I!? Yay!

Happy Bank Holiday Sunday Bitcheepoos.

Any fun for me?
Mammy x

I am Sparking the Gas Mum

Gas.

I don’t know about your house, but in my house, the little blue flame means one thing and one thing only.

And not what you imagine it to be.

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In most houses, this means that it’s almost time for dinner or for breakfast or for whatever wonderfully nutritious meal that Mammy or Daddy is Nigellaing in the kitchen.

In MY house, it means the beginning of 25 minutes of “TORTURE”.

It’s like the little blue flame ignites the realisation that they are ABSOLUTELY STARVING and must eat EVERYTHING in the house, right NOW MAMMY.

It means the beginning of the fridge being opened every 30 seconds, declarations of “What can I eat?” and “I’m staaaaaarving Mammy!”

It means the cries of the wobbler as if she hasn’t been fed for 3 weeks.  The painful hollers of the pair of them as they scream hunger and neglect and cry continuously until I finally put whatever I am cooking in front of them… for them to obviously declare that they “Don’t wike it!” or that they’re “not hungwy!”

No shit sherlock.  You’ve just spent 25 minutes eating fecking biscuits and croissants and yoghurts and EVERYHING in the fecking fridge while I cooked.

I’m not sure which is the biggest waste; the gas or the energy I use cooking for them.

 

I am Speed-Clean Queen Mum

Good evening, on this, the 83rd of January, 2018.
 
It is Sunday night once again. Mammy has a list of things she needs to do, but after running around the house for the past 90 minutes finding schoolbags, and lunchboxes and searching for the magical tie and parts of the uniform that get blown to the 4 corners of the earth on a Friday evening, Mammy is fit for NOTHING except parking her posterier on the sofa.
 
Mammy had some lovely friends over for an impromptu dinner last night. Mammy spent 45 minutes speed cleaning the rooms in which her lovely friends would be. It is amazing just how much Mammy can get done when faced with the thought of lovely friends coming to visit. (Not that lovely friends give a continental shite what state Mammy’s Layer of Love is in, but still.) And so Mammy managed to blitz the kitchen, tidy, move, clean bathrooms, mop floors and clean glass, all so that she could apologize for the “state of the place” when the lovely friends arrived.
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How ridonculous eh?
 
“Good evening Lovely Friends, please doooooo come in and look at how homely and coziful Mammy’s practically perfect in every way home is on this fine evening. I must apologize for the layer of love. Please do not judge Mammy for the mess of her candlelt kitchen… Woulds’t one likest some cucumber in one’s gin?
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Ready for catch ups

 
And of course the response from one of the lovely friends was “Yeah yeah. The place looks great. Shut up and start pouring.”
 
The evening was lovely until Princess decided to have her firt EVER nightmare just before 1am. The poor little cretur screamed so loudly that one of Lovely Friends almost spilled her cucumbery gin over herself. And so Mammy had to bid her lovely friends Adieu and take the High-temperatured, sweaty little shaking mess away from the “Bug Bear under me bed” and into our bed.
On the up side, The Him was happily left entertaining lovely friends AND HE did all the cleaning up of Mammy’s showhouse worthy kitchen before he went to bed. And so the remnants of the Heavenly Indian takeaway we had, were gone when I got up.
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Could lick the screen…

 
Fear not however my Mammies. The house is once again a mess and all pretentious notions have left Mammy. Mammy is back in reality, smiling at how quickly Mini-Me and Princess recreated their Layer of Love and glad to have such Lovely friends to speed-clean-for-them-to-not-notice anyway.
I am now ready for bed, hoping and praying that there is no bear or monster under Princess’s bed tonight.
Hope you had a lovely weekend and that you are ready for the last 38 days of January.
The S-Mum

I am Some Things that Make me Smile Mum

What makes you smile Mammy?

“My children’s arms around my neck… spending time with my family… seeing my childrens’s faces when… hearing my children’s voices…cuddles with my babies…”

Yadda yadda yeah.

Of course these things make you happy.  And so they should. Being Mammy is the most rewarding and smile inducing thing in the world.

But Back up Bitcheepoos.  I asked what makes YOU happy.  What things, (not including your precious little cherubs and their hillarious/cute/wonderful milestones), make Mammy smile.   I want the OTHER answers, the things OTHER than your kids that make you smile, because it’s important to remember the things that make Mammy smile, other than being Mammy.

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Apart from these two, obviously.

Here are some of mine:

Food:  Food is possibly my favourite thing in the world. Nothing gives me the same joy as good food. The smells.  The textures. The flavours… I have been known to make questionable noises while eating certain things.  Add a smooth warm wine to a Prawn Balti and I may just love you forever. Eating is not just functional.  It’s sensual. God dammit, sometimes food is just sexy. End of.   I’m salivating now just thinking about it… To Hell with diamonds…The way to this woman’s heart is through my belly.  Just feeeeeeed me.  I’m like a puppy.  I’m not beyond being bribed to do tricks…

When someone else thinks of me:  When Himself leaves my cup and pod ready in the coffee machine before I get up.  When my friend hands me a pair of ridiculous slippers just because she thought of me when she saw them. When someone calls me, not looking for something, just to say hi. When someone texts me out of the blue.

Chatting:  With two chatterboxes for daughters, I don’t get a word in edgeways.  If I get the rare chance to meet my mate, my Him or my Mum for a cuppa without my little people, Oh but it does make me smile.  Uninterrupted, uncensored conversation with our favourite grown up people is soooooooo good for us, isn’t it?

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Hugs:  Apart from my Him and the Hers, there are some people whose hugs make me especially happy.  My Daddy is the bestest Hugger in the world.  End of story. No one will ever win an argument with me about that.  I love hugs from my siblings, especially the two who flew over the Irish Sea to make their nests. It doesn’t matter how long has passed between hugs, they’re stronger than ever each time.

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Hugs makes the sun shine

Being alone:  The true joys of being alone can never be understood until you are a parent.  When I get it, I take it.  And I’m talking ANYWHERE!  The bathroom. The shower. The car journey between drop off and work.  Sometimes, I run awful errands just to get 25 minutes alone! Even putting the bin up to the road is a chance to stop and breath and be alone for a minute. Grabbing a coffee alone is a luxury. I get up most mornings before 6am, just to have an hour to myself.  And who needs a holiday when you have the Supermarket to mosey through all by yourself?

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How I feel on aisle 3

The Beach:  The beach near my home is my absolute favourite place.  It’s my thinking place. Yes I love to walk here with the girls, but add this one to Number 5 and you’ll see a content and happy S-Mum.  If I stand on that shore long enough, all the world realigns and everything is better. It’s cleansing. It blasts away my stresses. And I’m discovering as I get older, that the worse the weather is, the better the blast.

People watching:  This one makes me smile just thinking about it.  I LOVE to people-watch.  I love to pretend and make up what is happening with them.  I write them into characters and scenarios in my head, and sometimes in my book.  (If you have ever passed me, especially if I’m alone, there’s a chance you’ve inspired something. That counts as a disclaimer right?)

Exercise:  This one might not be everyone’s list, but it’s definitely something that makes me smile.  It also makes me swear, grunt and cry, but so does food! There is a fine line between pleasure and pain isn’t there!?

Food: I know I’ve said food already, but seriously, I don’t think I have enough words to make anyone understand the utter joy that it brings me. 🙂

Smells: Stop and smell the roses, or the cut grass, or the baking bread.  Breathe in your Granny’s perfume, your baby’s head, the chocolate cake.  ALWAYS take a second to smell your wine. Or your coffee.  Or the washing powder.  Or the smell in your parent’s hall when you visit.  Smells are memories.  Memories make me smile.

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Breathe it in…

I could go on.  And even as I write this and think about these things, I realise that they are largely easy to do, find and that they are mostly free.   And so it makes me wonder, why I don’t do them more often.  Of course, time is an issue. Being a busy Mammy with a job and 20,000 other things going on will always make time an issue, but at the same time, none of these things are outrageous or elusive really.

And so maybe it’s time to make time to do them.  

So now, I ask you again.  What makes YOU smile? (apart from your Darlings).

Write down a few of them and stick the list on your fridge or in your diary.  Then, try to tick one or two of them off that list at least once a week.

 

Shared on:

My Random Musings

 

I am Some Christmas Reality Mum

Christmas.

I LOVE it! I love everything about it.  I love the sparkle, the sounds, the smells, the smiles.  I love the kindness. I love how it brings out the best in so many people.

But what I don’t love, is the pressure placed on us by the interweb to create magical, Christmas card worthy Hallmark moments. It’s started already; Instagranny and Bookface are full of pictures of beautiful trees and perfect living rooms.  None of us posted the mess of them being put up though did we!? Myself included.  Of course not.  We want to show the world our best smile don’t we? We want to give the general idea that we’ve gont our sh*t together.

MY Christmas Eve shall be fablis. Here’s how it shall look if I post it online.

Some last minute, calm and fun shopping in town, a family breakfast with my siblings and all of our minions, a quick visit to the grandparents’ homes and then home, where Mammy will wear her apron and help the girls make homemade cookies for Santa, create perfect Belgian hot chocolate for them before snuggling up to watch a movie.  Then, I prep all of the veg etc for Christmas dinner.  Then, as Daddy bathes the girls and gets them ready for bedtime, Mammy shall pour a little drop of mulled wine and begin creating the turkey. We shall have some hearty homemade soup for tea and mammy shall double check her lists to ensure that all is done.  In a whirlwind of excitement, the girls shall leave out their fablis homemade cookies, a carrot and some milk for Santa. They’ll sprinkle reindeer food on the steps and go to bed, happy and excited.

Then, Daddy shall pop a bottle of bubbles, we’ll finish wrapping presents and then we’ll cozy up on the sofa and wait for Santa.

REALITY CHECK

The last minute shopping will not be calm and fun, unless you have someone to sit in the car with minions while you pop in and out of shops.

Family breakfast WILL be fun, but it will most likely also be filled with nyaming and crying, with things like “She’s sitting on meeee”, “He got more berries” and “Stop that nonsense now!”.  The adults will eat breakfast, pretending to have jovial conversation, but really just throwing random and disconnected statements at each other between bouncing the kids.

Visiting – Yes, but the over excited and wound up kiddies will be needing a sleep by then and there is a high chance of tantrums forecast once a loving and caring  Grandparent enters the room.  Add sugar before wrestling kids into car.  Perfect!

Bake cookies:  Buy a box of cookie mix. Add an egg and there you go.  Mary Poppins indeed.

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My favourite!

Hot chocolate: Not Belgian.  Not fancy.  Straight from the coffee machine pods. Plop in the marshmallows and she’s happy out..

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Sure why not?

Movie:  In my head it’s Miracle on 34th Street, in reality it’ll be ELF again for 38 minutes before Ben and Holly return.  And it’ll be grand, because Mammy will realistically be watching it from the kitchen.

Homemade soup: HAHAHAHAHA! I’m not that organised.  I go to Mum’s on Christmas Eve and steal a lunchbox full of hers.  No point in both of us making it, is there?

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Mulled wine:  Buy a jar or packet. Slosh in some cheap wine and orange juice.  Done.  (Oh, and if you don’t like mulled wine, why the heck are you making it?)

Prepping dinner:  This I DO do.  Not because I’m Mary Poppins, but because the only thing any Mammy needs to be peeling on Christmas Day is the paper off presents (or the foil of my Chocolate Orange!)  PS.  Did you know you can buy PRE-PEELED SPUDS!?  Go for it Mammy.  It’s Christmas after all!

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Do you really need baubles on the plates?

Lists:  Once you’re home, scrap the lists. Whatever you haven’t bought by then, doesn’t need bought.  I will do a last To Do list, just to remind me of what needs done before I can sit on my backside for a few glasses of grapes later.  TIP: Write some stuff you’ve already done so you’ll feel better that there are a few lines through it already.

Bedtime: Yes it will be exciting, but it will also be frantic with two children who can’t control their highly stimulated and sugar induced emotion, and full of threats of “If you’re not sleeping, Santa won’t come”.  Eventually, Mini-Me will succumb to sleep, but them going straight to bed and nodding off instantly is as possible as me getting a Chanel coat. Then you get to start to tidy and clean and do all the other stuff that needs doing, just like every other day.  And who will notice or care if your sitting room looks perfect?

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Warning… lasts a maximum of 3 minutes!

Presents: If you don’t like wrapping stuff, don’t.  Keep it simple. You don’t need fancy curled ribbons.  They do not need to be Pinterest worthy.  Tell people the kids wrapped them, or better still, buy Christmas gift bags.  Sorted.  Santa doesn’t have time to wrap presents in my mind. Santa has better things to do.

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I wrapped these myself…not!

Waiting for Santa?  Yeah.  After 2 hours of tiptoeing about the place, forgetting where things are and trying not to wake the kids with rustling bags, as you try not to KILL each other!   Then you finally sit down to “relax” before realising that the kids will be up in, oh… approximately 4 hours!

Seriously though.

Relax.

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What’s in that cup Mammy?

Christmas will come and go. It is magical and wonderful, but it is also what you make it. I just HOPE my Christmas is exactly as I have described, because cheats and realities and all, it’s MY perfect. No one else’s.

The Christmas inspector is not going to visit on Christmas morning to check if your home in Hallmark worthy.  NO ONE actually cares that you wrap EVERY SINGLE ONE of the presents.  No one cares what your kids get from Santa.  No one cares if you have your hair brushed. No one cares if you’re all in matching PJs. And the only person whose opinion matters on these things, is you.

While we like to see people we like and care about looking happy on Christmas morning, remember that you are under NO obligation to post pics  or share ANYTHING on social media.  You are also under no obligation to even look at other people’s photographs on social media.

If looking at other’s “perfect Christmas” makes you feel crappy, put down the device and look at what’s in front of you .

Chances are, your perfect Christmas is right there in front of you…in the real world. Chaos and all.

Enjoy it!

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I am Saving the Day Mum

Mini-Me began to BAWL on the way home this evening.

“What’s the matter Darling?”

“I have vewy bad nooooos Mammy”

“Oh no? What happened?”
(Sobbing…)

“Michael Jackson has DIED!”


(WAAAAAAILS for at least 2 minutes, thankfully so grief-stricken that she doesn’t realise I am in fits of laughter in the front seat. In fairness, with my shoulders dancing as they are, she possibly thinks I am sharing in her devestation.)

What should I say? How do I deal with her grief? When did she begin caring about Michael Jackson?

What does a sensitive, open and emotionally supportive Mammy say to their child in such a situation?

“Cheesy pasta for tea?”

“Oooooh yes please!”

#mammywin #sorted

I am She’s Not Quite Getting it Mum

“WHAT is THAT Mammy?”

“What is what Sweetie?”

“What is THAT fing on the tray?”
“That is the chicken for Mammy and Daddy’s dinner tonight.”

“Dat is NOT a chucken. Chucken is white.”
“Chicken is white when it is cooked. This is a raw chicken.”

“Why is it not moooovin like?”
“Because it’s dead Baby.”

“Nooooooooo? Who kulled the chicken?”
“Erm, the Farmer killed the chicken so that Mammy can cook the chicken before I eat it.” (This may not end well…😥😥😥)

“But that Farmer should NOT kill his wee chuckens. That is NOT very nice.”
“But how would we get chicken for our dinner if the farmer doesn’t kill it pet?”

(Looks at me as if I’m the most intellectually challenged cretur on the planet…😅)
“You COULD just go to the shop and BUY chucken Mammy. Then the farmer could stop killing da wee chuckens and everyone would be happy.”

“Ok. 😐😐😐That’s a great idea. I’ll do that the next day.”
“Good Mammy… And if you see that farmer, sort him out. He shouldn’t be going around kulling his wee pet chuckens. That is not nice behaviour.”

(I wonder if I should tell her where Granda will be sending her buddies Ellie and JohnJoe next Spring? 🐮🐄🐮🐄🐮🐄😂😂)

#fml #iswineonatuesdayallowed

I am Starving the Minions Mum

Is Mammy the ONLY Mammy whose minions spend the entire day either with their nappies sticking out of the fridge, or raiding through the cupboards?

This Fudgemonster currently eats 12 meals a day, not counting snacks hidden in secret stashes or cereal eaten off the floor. This was taken 20 minutes after her SECOND breakfast this morning. 😂

I’ve had to take the safety lock OFF the press which contains the bleach and chemicals. It is now on the fridge…

And it seems that there is a limbo or vortex of some sort between our house and next door. No matter how much they eat here, from the second they walk through the door of Granny’s, they EAT. Not only do they eat, they actually BEG. They whine as if they’re STARVING and scobe the food offered into them so fast, that the Grandparents most certainly exchange eyebrow raises over their starved little heads and genuinely wonder if I actually feed them AT ALL over in the torture pit of child hell that is my own house.

Poor unfed, unloved minions. Bad Mammy who never feed them. 😂

So now, with them going back to school and playschool for 5 full days a week, my biggest fear is NOT how they’ll adapt, or settle in, or survive without me… nope. I am seriously concerned that they won’t manage to ONLY eat at breaktimes and lunchtimes. I fear that they shall fade away without the constant drip of food from my poor, knackered cupboards. I expect the childcare facility to send me extra bills for all the EXTRA food that this doll will insist on eating every day.

I wonder if I should smuggle in some extra snacks in their bags? 😂😂😂😂