I’ve officially reached post tired

I do strange things when I’m tired. I had a doner kebab last night. An actual doner kebab. Smothered in chilli and garlic sauce, all the salads and a couple of chillies. MustBeTheMummy is on her 5.2 and I couldn’t face cooking solo.

It’s been tough five days. Hero has been teething and everything has become a fuzz. I have no clue what time of day it is and I’m willing the clock to strike 6.50pm – it’s when MustBeTheMummy arrives home from work. It’s the time I can crash for a couple of hours.

The whole routine has gone out of the window and the little man isn’t bothered about sleeping. Last night we watched Emmerdale (I don’t even watch Emmerdale) and a bit of Women’s Football before retiring to the crib. Another two hours later Hero went to sleep. FOR TWO HOURS before screaming the house down.

 

The days seem to be ok but the nights are a mixture of surreal moments and endless shrieking. Last night, at around 3am, my JD Sports shopping basket had two pairs of Adidas Originals ZX Flux, a Nike Club French Terry Tracksuit and two pairs of Nike Air Max 95 (In blue and grey). I reached checkout but stopped myself spending nearly £400.

JD Sport? sports apparel? Do I look 14? I’ve officially gone mad.

It’s a phase. We’ve been here before with our daughters. Back then I was at work and had no clue what my wife was going through when I used to rock up at 7pm after spending a ‘hard day’ at work. I salute you MustBeTheMummy. I salute all stay at home mums and dads who have been through this. You are amazing.

Food, glorious food! Sweet potato and pea?

It’s been four weeks since I started to wean baby Hero and to be honest it hasn’t been a complete disaster. Apart for a slight constipation issue Hero hasn’t been spitting out my whizzed up veg concoctions.

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Curious (not miserable)

I’ve been using a combination of New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner by Annabel Karmel and my own recipes. Hero’s tummy is happy so far and his favourites are pea and carrot and leek, sweet potato and pea puree.

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Leek, sweet potato and pea puree – before the whizz

Leek, sweet potato and pea puree - after the whizz

Leek, sweet potato and pea puree – after the whizz

I try not to stick to one book or even a book at all and experiment with some favourite Saul recipes. We had some guests over today (including a 2-year-old) so I rustled up some lamb meatballs in homemade tomato sauce with fusilli.

Before I added a little salt and the meatballs to the sauce I decanted some and whizzed it up with the pasta for Hero. It was a success! In a few weeks time, I’ll give him a small taste of the meatballs.

If you’re interested in cooking up  yummy tomato sauce for your kids (or grown ups) give this a go and let me know what you think.

Mango’s Small Person Tomato Sauce

Ingredients
Glug of olive oil
2 onions finely chopped
2 carrots, grated
4-5 Garlic cloves finely chopped or crushed in garlic press
A bit of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

Herbes de Provence, (3-4 pinches)
1 tin of plum tomatoes (prefer plum to chopped – they taste so much better for some reason).
A few squirts of Tomato Puree
Boiled water (Use 400g tomato tin)
Salt (couple of pinches if cooking for toddler otherwise omit)
Pepper, couple of pinches

Method
Heat oil then add onions. Cook for 2-3 mins.
Add ginger and garlic, cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
Add carrots and cook for 3-4 mins.
Sprinkle in the Herbes de Provence and stir.
Now add the tin of tomatoes and cook for 1-2 mins.
Add tin of boiled water and cook on a low heat for 30 mins (or until there is no water left).
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Happy weaning!

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Last night the TV saved my life…

I’m a telly addict. I have been from a young age. Saturday mornings in the 80s Saul household didn’t consist of football at the crack of dawn, rugby at lunch and fencing in the evening. It was more like cartoons in the morning, wrestling in the afternoon, down the Saturday market with my parents after lunch and back home in time for The A-Team and some Blind Date before bed.

Do I feel like I’ve wasted time? Not when I’m at a quiz night and the quiz master asks who played Des Clarke in Neighbours.

Who did play Des Clarke?

Who did play Des Clarke?

My useless encyclopaedic knowledge of all things television is just a starter. TV also taught me how to be a skilled fighter via Monkey Magic and how to build a machine gun using copper wire and a packet of Marlboro Lights. Thanks MacGyver.

Admittedly, my kids don’t watch as much TV as I did. They have a life. There’s ballet and tap on a Saturday, swimming on a Monday, science club on a Tuesday and gymnastics on a Wednesday. Oh, and they are about to be enrolled in Kung Fu, which will probably fill up Thursday (mummy really does know how to keep them busy).

But the black box on the wall can be a life saver. Especially when you’re trying to make lunch for a six-year-old, four-year-old and 6-month-old. It’s even handy when calming the rugrats down after an epic fight about who owns what in the house. (“Daddy paid for it so it’s technically mine” line doesn’t work no matter how many times I try it).

In homage to my TV addiction and the many times it has saved my life (sanity), here are my current favourite shows:

Something Special
Justin Fletcher is a bit of a celebrity in the Saul household. We even went to see the genius live at Camp Bestival one year. Yes, the last sentence is nuts but true.

Postman Pat
Classic! And when I tuned in for the first time since I was a kid, Indian-born Ajay and his family were now residents of Greendale.

Gigglebiz
Dear adults without children. Still missing The Fast Show? Well, this is way better.

64 Zoo Lane
I’ve always wanted live next door to a zoo and the theme tune is brilliant!

Grandpa in My Pocket
It took me a couple of months to figure out Grandpa is Roy in Only When I Laugh.

Welcome to daddy daycare

I lost my job in March. It came out of the blue but a welcome relief. To say I hated my job was an understatement.

I was lucky though. As soon as the redundancy news flashed before my face I got offered a gig at Hearst. As some of you know, I worked there previously. Spent over five years building some amazing relationships and doing some amazing work on Sugarscape. Love that place.

Then more freelance work rolled in, at lots of different publishers. Amazing! Kind of.

The last time I freelanced I was a young man. 2004 to be precise. It was a drunken year. DJ Casper’s Cha Cha Slide was Number 1 and £120 per day for writing shizzle was perfect for a beer drinking, cigarette puffing, pizza eating young bee like me.

Fast forward to 2016 and to my amazement, the journalist’s freelance day rate has stayed pretty much the same at many places. Some are lower, some only slightly higher. Although happily accepted by the rolly smoking newbies, I now have a mortgage, three kids and a Volvo XC90.

New plan. Pitching stories and features to the nationals, coming up with and selling in amazing ideas for monthlies and going for big gun jobs.

While Plan A was still formulating (mainly in my brain), my wonderful wife aka MustBeTheMummy, who is the dogs bollocks at PR, gets offered a couple of amazing gigs. Starting ASAP.

Now what? With a 6-month-old, who has just started weaning and summer holidays in full swing for two school-goers, the best solution for Team Saul is for me to take over the reins at home.

Flat peach went down a treat. Let the weaning commence! #babyboy #weaning #babyfoodideas #6months

A photo posted by Mango Saul (@mustbethedaddy) on

Quick side note. I attempted this in 2014 and it was the toughest five months of my life. Being a stay at home parent, no matter what anyone says, is undoubtedly harder than getting on a 7am train to go to work.

So, until school kicks in, after school clubs are booked, the best nursery is sourced, a new permanent job is found for me, it’s time for some daddy daycare.

Oh shit.

Everything will be alright, as long as there is TV.

Everything will be all right, as long as there is TV.