You know you’re normally a co-sleeper when…

  • Your child sleeps longer than normal in their own bed and you wake every hour anyway because you’re not used to them being away from you.
  • You wake every time your little absent cosleeper murmers because you’re not used to hearing his sleep sounds over the monitor.
  • You sleep on the edge of the bed, despite having an entire super king-size to yourself, because you’re used to being kicked if you sleep anywhere else
  • When your little cosleeper finally calls for you, you’re grateful for the company, because the bed is a little colder and lonelier without him.

Looking back: 13 things for 2013

As the end of the year very quickly draws near, I’m thinking about setting my goals for 2014. Goals are like resolutions, but without the guilt if I fail … because they’re only goals (I know, that’s the lamest thing you’ve ever heard). But as with most years, I feel the need to look back at what I have and haven’t achieved and where better to start than with my goals for 2013?

In brief, they were:

  1. Finish at least 1 personal web project
  2. Take up an outdoor activity
  3. Go one month without using a supermarket / chain store
  4. Take more pictures
  5. Put up my prices
  6. Acknowledge one positive from every day
  7. Get my budgeting back on track
  8. Reach ‘inbox zero’ on my personal email
  9. Finish a job to a deadline
  10. Give up sugar for a month
  11. Finish a project around the house
  12. Sort out my junk & sell it off
  13. Grow out my hair

I managed to complete #1 – finished switching this blog to Genesis – although created a bunch more projects over the year which now need finishing too. I successfully managed #5 and didn’t go out of business :) I finished a couple of jobs to deadline AND finished a project around the house (painted the hall) – albeit on Christmas eve! I sold a lot of junk but made a loss, which was annoying. Lastly, I grew out my hair, which is now back down past my shoulders but is top of the list of things to get rid of next year.

I’m disappointed I couldn’t manage #2 – I took up running but illness and then work got in the way. I’m hoping Oliver being in nursery from Jan will free up some time so I don’t have excuses to not run, though. I’m similarly disappointed that I didn’t manage to go the whole month without sugar, as it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be (and I still take my coffee without sugar now, so that’s a plus).

The rest… pah. I think they will form the basis of my goals for next year. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again – right?

Ho ho ho! Merry Crimbo

Merry Christmas to all those who’ve stuck with me this year ;) Looking forward to another year of neglecting my blog posting frequently :D All the best for 2014!


Posted this to facebook, but then decided I wanted to put it somewhere more public to keep me accountable.

Although I think that teaching myself to code and creating a career off the back of it is probably one of my biggest achievements in life, I can’t help but feel that all this time spent as a solo developer – for myself, for past work places (99% of the time), and now for myself again – has actually really held me back.

There’s no peer review when you’re own your own, nobody to say “Jem, that code is bloody awful”, nobody to chivvy you along into learning new tech etc. My communication and collaboration skills are piss poor and I actively fought a client recently over involving a second dev because I didn’t want the hassle of potentially working alongside (virtually) someone else.

I have got to fix this.

So that might be my #1 goal in 2014…

Project: Bunny Shed 2

Today I went on a bit of a rescue run. I went to pick up 3 french lop bunnies from a local lady; they were being kept in tiny, tiny hutches far too small for them (and I’m not just talking a bit small – these are giant rabbits that need more space than most). I don’t think it was through any malicious intent, just lack of knowledge on behalf of the old owners.

Anyway, from there I headed up to Piggy Kingdom, where we got our latest pair of piggies from and where the rabbits will be spending the forseeable future… except, and this is where “Project: Bunny Shed 2” comes in, I really would quite like those rabbits. I was blown away by a) how big they are – the size of a small cat easily and b) how GORGEOUS they are. Like big fluffy teddies. Here’s some pics I was given by the old owner…

Aren’t they gorgeous? And you can see how small the hutches were in those pics – barely enough room for them to sit, let alone move around and stretch.

So now I’m on a mission. Firstly, to raise extra income to buy another shed (because these bunnies need SPACE) and secondly, to convince Karl that we can cope with 3 extra rabbits. Suggestions on a postcard..!

My awesome t-shirt

Did you see my boobies on twitter recently?

No silly, not on show, in my awesome ‘Jem’ logo t-shirt.

I recently had a mail from a chappy called Martin at T Shirt Printing .net asking me if I wanted to review one of their printed tees and I said sure, because (as my oldies will remember) I have a bit of a thing about t-shirts.

I sent him my uber cool logo from Lilian, which will eventually also feature in a cool portfolio layout by the said same designer because she is my go-to chick for snazzy shit, and Martin printed it up on a personlised t-shirt (it might not have been HIM that printed it, obviously, but certainly he did the important talking-to-me stuff). And here it is… here I am in full colour glory:


Shame about that flash though, eh? (And the very visible chicken curry I ate beforehand, mwahaha)

The t-shirt itself is good though. Nice, soft cotton and the print has been washed several times since it arrived in October with no visible damage to the lettering. I asked for an XL and it fits quite snug since washing, coming up a bit smaller than some of the other tees I own, but as you can see there’s plenty of room in there for chicken curries (and the boobies).

Now I just have to chat him up to get a hoodie, because I am getting a bit chilly in just my t-shirts at this time of year. ;)

Common Cold and Your Testicles

I know, bet you didn’t see that title coming?

Seriously though, at this time of year, one of my most common search results relates to the common cold and testicles. The reason why — and the most popular result in el Goog — is a pisstake entry I posted in 2006 about someone defacing the common cold wikipedia entry to add the word ‘testicles’.

As a woman, therefore not an owner of a pair of testicles (unless you count Karl’s), I couldn’t possible say if the common cold or flu causes testicular pain. However, given the sheer scale of the search hits to this page (which as I say, increases in the cold seasons) I can only assume that testicular pain due to a cough/cold is quite common despite there being little in Google results pages to support this.

In the interest of science, I did a tiny bit of research and I’ve discovered that WebMD lists the cold as a symptom of testicular pain. However, testicular pain can also be the sign of some pretty severe / nasty sounding illnesses and diseases, so guys… if you’re worried, do yourself a favour and head to the docs. Better to be safe the sorry.

P.s. hot water, lemon & honey should help your other symptoms. Get well soon!

Having it all? What a load of boll….

Off the back of Beth’s eloquent piece on being “wonder woman” I can’t help but summarise my opinion on the phrase “having it all”: it’s a load of — and look away now if you’re of sensitive disposition — complete and total bollocks.

“Having it all” is just another stick invented by the media to beat up women who don’t meet bullshit fantasy ideals which only serve to drive women crazy in their misguided pursuit of happiness.

I confess, before I actually became a work at home parent I thought that it would be the yellow brick road, the wardrobe opening into Narnia: I honestly thought that I could sit at my laptop tapping out a few great websites for clients (that’s what I do, see) while the children played gaily at my feet. The washing would be done, dried and folded; the kitchen work surfaces sparkling as I’d have not long scrubbed pausing only to sip on my hot coffee in a clean mug. My food would be prepped for our evening meal and we’d all be happy and rich as I rolled in the money I would make as a successful freelancer.

snotty baby
Not my child. Model shown for demonstration purposes only.

Hahahaha what a prat I was.

The reality is a little more like yesterday: I was sat at my desk, covered in bogies because my youngest is ill, bouncing him on my lap to keep the noise level down whilst I try to give a training meeting to a client over skype; my headset whistles because dearest child is trying to eat the microphone, again leaning forward to wipe his teary, green-crust-covered face across my chest and I pause to listen to the questions over the sound of a hacking cough and wimpering (child’s, not mine).

I can’t stop working to nurse my child back to health because I’m on my second month of being overdrawn thanks to scrooge-like clients holding on to their cash for as long as possible. My long forgotten coffee on the manky crumb-covered kitchen side is long cold and will sit there until the following morning when I replace it with another (which will also likely go the same way) in the same grotty mug because pausing to wash it is too much effort.

And if you think that’s an exaggeration for comic effect, you’re obviously not a work at home parent.

Don’t get me wrong, I have really enjoyed the challenges of working from home over the past 18 months. On the months where I have made more money than I did as an employee I have rejoiced in the successes… but it’s not like this every day. It’s stressful, and hard, and I am not wonder woman. Like I said: having it all? What a load of bollocks.

Many thanks to the lovely Eeh Bah Mum for letting me use her gorgeous snotty child to illustrate my slightly ranty post.

Too busy to blog here

But I did write a bit of a ranty post over at WAHMweb (on “having it all”) if you’re bored… I would say beware of swear words but if you read this blog you’re probably used to it by now.

P.s. I’d quite like a full night’s sleep for Christmas, if anyone wants to ply Santa with sexual favours to magic that one up? Much obliged.

Little Hoarder

Last week, every time Oliver went to sleep he did so clutching his little orange van.

By the weekend, every time Oliver went to sleep he did so clutching a car and his little orange van.

Today at nap time he went to sleep clutching a red car, a red and white car, and his little orange van.

I’m not entirely sure how he plans to top this…

How to care for 11 animals and not go crazy

After Stephanie asked how we manage all the animals with everything else we’ve got on, and we recently doubled our guinea pig population, I thought it was probably a good time to write about how the hell we care for all these animals without going crazy.

We have a routine

Back when we only had a few pets we’d clean them out when it seemed like a good idea, scoop poop when we remembered etc. It’s not good – so easy to accidentally miss a scooping and wake up to cat shit all over your floor because the highly clean moggies have got peed off at the poop mound in the corner of their tray. These days we have a specific daily routine:

– Karl feeds cats & scoops poop while I’m sorting the children’s breakfast
– After Karl has gone to work & Izz to nursery (when applicable) I go outside to check on the bunnies & piggies, top up hay and do any necessary spot-cleans of hutches and trays. If I’m going to be at home all day I let the rabbits out too.

– After the kids have gone to bed it’s fresh veg prep for the bunnies & piggies, another round of spot-cleans on hutches and trays (the rabbits are “litter” trained), fresh hay & water all round etc
– Once the outdoor animals are sorted it’s another round of cat food & poop scooping indoors

– Litter trays are emptied & scrubbed
– Hutches are emptied & scrubbed
– Water bowls and bottles are scrubbed

We keep on top of cleaning

See above: spot-cleans on hutches etc. It seems like it takes up a lot of time when you explain it, but when you do it twice a day it helps stop poop mounds building up and spreading. It takes a few minutes and is much more hygienic for the animals.

We work together

I sort food bowls while Karl sweeps or vice versa. I sort the kids while Karl sorts the cats. And so on… it’s all about team work. Although the division of labour in this house is definitely not 50/50, it’s certainly heading that way. I absolutely cannot abide the notion that women should be the ones doing all the housework and that applies to animal/pet related chores too. (Don’t get me started!)

We avoid ‘messy’ products

Last but not least, we try and avoid products that make our lives harder. For example, we use a great clumping litter which is a little pricier than most but means that we can scoop a pee out of the tray leaving just clean litter behind (and it doesn’t flick about the place as much as some litters).

For the outdoor animals, we’ve recently switched to ‘vet bed’ instead of woodshavings. Now we can sweep out the pigpig poos using a dustpan and brush, wee is absorbed through to an under layer of paper based litter and the guinea pigs stay clean and tray (same principle for the rabbit litter tray). It turns out that woodshavings are associated with respiratory issues too, so this was a good decision all round.

All that said, it really is just a case of getting off your arse and getting on with it. Actual pet-maintenance doesn’t take more than an hour a day which leaves lots more for cuddling the little furry buggers. :D

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