I was lolling about in bed this morning like a right lazy arse, scrolling idly through my Instagram feed and I happened to notice @acorn_and_pip were at Altrincham market today.

In one insta-inspired-moment, Sunday had gone from a lazy, laid back nothing day to ‘get up the stairs now kids and get dressed’.

I haven’t been to Altrincham market for years. In all honestly, Altrincham town centre, despite the inflated house prices and affluent suburbs, is a bit of a dump. I have heard lately though that it’s on the up. Thanks in no small part to the resurgence of the old market.

We got the tram there, just to add a little excitement into the mix. I get that, ‘come on girls, lets go look round a market’ isn’t the most exciting prospect for a five year old. As expected, they loved it. I’m perpetually confused that the simplest things make them so happy, yet the grand, overblown days out, fall flat time and again.

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The metro station in Altrincham is really quite nice. Ultra modern mixed with original Victorian brickwork. I love that where possible they left original walls and features and it totally works. The girls didn’t give two hoots though so we didn’t stick around.

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As we walked through the centre towards the market, I thought, who the hell said this place was on the up. It was 11am. The shopping street was pretty much deserted. I was starting to think we had made a wasted journey.

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However! As we rounded the corner up to the market, the glum lacklustre façade of the half-inhabited high street crumbled away to reveal a vibrant buzzing scene ahead. And man, did it live up to my expectations. It had the usual array of market stalls; vintage clothes, prints, flowers, handmade baby clothes, pottery etc.

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(A basket of child-alluring frilliness)

But the real star of the show was the food side. It was a foodie/drinky heaven.

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We bought pastries for elevenses from the French boulangerie stall, the smell of freshly baked bread and buttery pastry was divine.

Attached to the main market hall is a huge food hall, selling everything from pies and coffee to delectable cakes and cocktails. I O’ so nearly treated myself to a Bloody Mary, then didn’t thinking it was a bit of a lush thing to do on my own in charge of kids. I wish I had though!

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We couldn’t get a seat in here amidst all the hipster families, so did a bit more browsing and had lunch in the main hall. May chose a chorizo baguette and Noa a Margarita pizza.

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(Eco-friendly, green, brown cutlery. Useless. Totally)

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(Look at that face. I think it means, stop taking pictures of me and let me eat!)

We shared the food, and also a miniscule table (kids chose the only children’s table in the place, I rocked a bad look with my butt cheeks hanging over the sides of the baby chair) with a chatty two year old who was making a right meal out of a Jaffa cake inspired biscuit, that was easily the size of her head.

We had a lovely time, the kids were delightful for once and I felt pretty chuffed and proud that already at their ages they are beginning to appreciate places like Altrincham market for the eclecticism, culture and awesome food offerings.

And the last stop. The loos! The Neil Gaiman-esque original Victorian underground toilets. The kids were horrified…’eurgh they’re old’, ‘eurgh, there are cobwebs’, ‘eurgh they stink’. I forgot they never got the pleasure of the outdoor lavs in Urmston, and there I was reminiscing.

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Hub says this morning, ‘I think you better do a food shop today’.

Oh do you now? Well, I bloody well knew that without being told but thanks for the gentle nudge.

I cannot abide being told what to do. It makes me bristly and this can manifest itself in all sorts of ways. Today, I went spending.

If you can picture this, hub is lay up on the sofa with ‘cracked’, ahem bruised, ribs, the girls are refusing to do their teeth, put knickers on and generally play ball. When we eventually got to Asda, we were there less than thirty seconds before No.1 & 3 start fighting. I threw them all back in the car, drove home, left the engine running and dumped them without a word on the doorstep, rang the bell and pegged it back to the car and scarpered, knock-a-door-run style.

I went back to Asda with May, No. 2, three-quarters angel, one quarter devil-in-training. Treated us to a Starbucks. One, to calm my nerves and two, to show May that I’m out of scary bitch mode and then commenced the food shop.

We started upstairs. Bad move. My frame of mind was such, that anything that took my eye landed in the trolley. ‘Ah mum, Daddy’s gonna go mad.’ Never fear my sweet angel, Daddy will never know. (I posted, what, like, over a week ago about my missing wedding ring and he’s still yet to notice!)

We spent too long upstairs admittedly and by the time we hit the groceries, I’d lost interest and wanted to leave. Consequently, threw anything and everything into the trolley and let a few too many of those ‘can I haves’ pass my scrutiny than ordinarily.

I’ve been feeling secretly smug all day about my secret shopping – I even paid separately so it wouldn’t show up on the food receipt – sneaky huh! I haven’t had time/space though to get it all out and model it (for myself), I’m saving that for the first day of term tomorrow.

Tiny bit excited, but what’s the betting half of it goes back. That’s my usual trick. But for now, I’m going to bathe in my secret shopping triumph and dream about all my sub £20 purchases looking like a million dollars.

Secret Shopping Haul

Grey T-shirt £4 – starting off small

Sandals £16 – funky black/gold/white numbers – I have a total of zero ideas of what to wear them with.

Off the shoulder gypsy type of top £12 – really selling it to ya!  Returned. Ha! Me all over.

Tassel-y mono jacket £16 – now this, I heart.

JML straightening brush £39 – oh, Lord, if this does what is says on the tin, it’s a life-changer.

Cucumber Gin £12 – I’m sick of buying beer. Bought Gin instead. Oh dear, no beer to watch the football tonight? Boo hoo.

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Ok, I concede there are some serious posing issues going on here. I’m working on it. #babysteps

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Haha, strike a pose!

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Check out that price tag people!

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I know I shouldn’t have. I know its HIGHLY unlikely to live up to my expectations, but I couldn’t resist.

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And lastly but most importantly, mummy’s little helper. (Me & gin in bed)

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I’m yet to find a product or brand that has any lasting effect on my fizzy unruly hair and combination/prone to outbreaks skin. It doesn’t stop me searching though and that’s how I stumbled across Natura Siberica an Organic, free-from haircare and skincare brand from Russia.

The prices were super reasonable so, after reading a few reviews, I gave it a go. If like me, you’re always looking for a deal, you might think you’ll be able to pick it up cheaper elsewhere, but save yourself the time, you can’t. I found that both Harrods and Amazon stock a limited range but both were more expensive than buying directly.

The only downside of buying direct was having to wait four days for delivery. Four days in this day and age, I ask you? I’m the typical last minute shopper and want to order at 11.59pm and have it delivered before I leave for the school run.

However, Patience is a virtue, so I’m told, so I patiently waited out the four days and actually it did feel kind of like my birthday when the big box arrived Saturday morning. Mr C wasn’t very happy. I asked him to take the kids swimming so I could clean the house. Instead, he came home to find me wrapped in a towel looking like this…

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The shampoo, oh the shampoo. It has the most delectable bubblegum smell, and lathers up on the first go with silky bubbles. If like me, you are a scruffy mare and only wash your hair once a week, you will be used to shampooing maybe three times before the suds can cut through the grease. But not with this shampoo. It was a revelation!

Northern Cloudberry Shampoo – intensive repair and nutrition for deeply damaged and coloured hair  £6.69

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The conditioner, again smelt divine, and was very effective, leaving my hair feeling silky smooth but light and clean. I typically have to use a fairly heavy duty conditioner – did I mention my hair is a big curly frizz bomb – and often it feels weighed down with it.

Drying was also a dream. It was smooth and took noticelably less time than usual. I can tell from the first use that my hair loves these products. Long may the love affair continue.

Northern Cloudberry Conditioner – intensive repair and nutrition for deeply damaged and coloured hair £6.69

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(Uck, wrinkly hands!)

The shower gel. It was nice. I felt clean and refreshed and it smells lovely. But it is shower gel and there’s only so excited I can get about it. I will buy it again though, becaue did I mention, these organic, paraben-free, SLS-free products are also super reasonable. Ok, so it’s not a £1 shower gel from Quality Save but you can tell the difference, without a doubt.

Vitamins for skin shower gel £3.90

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This soap was a bit of a splurge for me. But I was drawn by the packaging and just had to have it. What I wasn’t expecting, is that it’s black! Proper black. It comes with a sponge akin to an oversized make up sponge and you simply wet the sponge, apply to a dry fair and rinse with clean water. Something about the blackness made it feel like I was giving my skin a real treat. And the big bonus is it smells like cherry bakewells, I almost want to eat it, but as for results, I’ve only used it once so time will tell I guess.

Northern Soap Detox for deep facial cleansing £10.80

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I think I might have just found my go-to skincare/haircare brand, the packaging is not over the top exclusive but it looks nice in my bathroom and at those prices, I wont have to skit out on one of the kids washing her Barbie’s hair with it. (Though, they have been warned!)

 

 

 

Happy Sunday People!

Sunday brunch, my favourite meal of the week. Today it’s french toast with a twist.

 

You’ll need these.

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(George the pest pet rabbit gets a treat too)

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Don’t vilify me, but I’m pretty sure plastic bread works best here. Remove crusts, (whizz up and freeze. Et voila, breadcrumbs!)

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Now fry. I used 2 tbsps of rapeseed oil. I thought Olive might taste too overbearing. I love Rapeseed oil for its high smoking point

 

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Basic cinnamon and light brown sugar mix. Approximately, 6 parts sugar to 2 parts cinnamon.

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Dunk and roll!

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Enjoy with hot coffee!

Tip: Earn brownie points with the husband by claiming you made French toast in keeping with the French footie theme. It works!

CookBlogShare

 

 

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An hour ago the husband casually drops it into conversation that he’s watching the football tonight.

You’d have thought he’d just told me he was leaving me for my best mate (I don’t have one, but that’s beside the point). I was writing a shopping list at the time and before I knew it the pen had flown out of my hand, hit the fridge, smashed into a gazillion pieces and I stormed out of the room and started ragging the hoover around like a maniac.

Then I went back for more. ‘So what you’re saying is this. I’m sorry darling that you’ve had the sh!ttest week off with the beasts, that I’ve barely seen you because I’ve spent every spare minute of every evening exam marking, but I’m spending the whole of Friday and Saturday night watching the football’

I don’t know if it was the high octave or heavy sarcasm that gave it away but he cleverly – he’s very astute is Mr C – exited the scene to go and buy bin bags.

I’m probably being unreasonable, at least in the manifestation of my emotions, but I don’t feel unjustified in saying it’s just not on.  I was really looking forward to chilling on the sofa with a glass of wine and a film from Skystore and boring him with tales of how horrid his offspring are.

But noooo, my grand plans are not to be because, ‘it’s the opening ceremony and it’s only every four years’. Oh well that’s all right then. Nevermind, that those four years are broken up with the World Cup, the Olympics and lets not forget Wimbledon, the Ashes and the football season.

I know I’m being a moaning Martha and should just hole up in my room, drink a bottle of wine and start Sons of Anarchy but I’m miffed that he assumes the TV is his, that his preferences take precedent and that frankly he would rather watch men running around a pitch than spend the evening with me. (Who would want to spend an evening with you you whinging bag, I know you’re thinking).

So, I have no option but to shut up and put up. I could leave or even poison his beer and dispose of his body in the bin bags he so helpfully bought earlier but that all seems a little drastic.

Instead, I might go down and apologise for my little outburst earlier. I might even feign interest in the opening ceremony for about five minutes. But I am definitely opening that bottle of wine and plan on blog hopping from my cosy bed all night, interspersed with googling bearded tattooed men.

And I should probably dry my hair from the torrential downpour me plus four kids got caught in earlier and also kiss the sproggles in their sleep because I did call them hell-beasts on social media and feel a little bit bad about it.

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(Google, rubbing salt in the wounds, when I turned to my laptop for solace)

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