The Phoenix Leaf

Childhood, Mental Health, Other Poetry, Parenting No Comments »


The Phoenix Leaf


Which part is dying?

Which should I keep buried?

And for how long?


Is it true

what she said

in that office?

Its windows

Too high to reach comfortably.


With a baby nestled

Into my chest

I told the truth about my pain.


She confirmed it was needed;

That to lose it

Would unravel the whole.

As if under the shroud

I am nothing:

I only burn bright

Due to my incandescent rage.


When it takes me

It’s part of the plan:


Look how beautifully we merge.


The Phoenix Leaf

Gingerbread and a Golden Slug

Childhood, Other Poetry, Parenting No Comments »


Youngest and I made gingerbread shapes over the weekend.  They were meant to be all men, but the dough came out a little sticky, and the resulting ‘people’ started to look a little less than perfect…

Wounded Gingerbread

So, we switched to using the star cookie cutter 😉

Star Cutter


I was impressed with Youngest’s sudden knowledge of baking – I hadn’t read all the recipe through (just the great reviews and the ingredient list) and before I got to the part about having to rub the butter into the flour, Youngest casually mentioned that would be his job, and he’d make sure he had clean hands.

Expert baker

It turns out that in the baking session at school near the end of last week he had really coveted that privilege, but had been disappointed when the teacher didn’t let the kids get their hands in the Apple Crumble…!

Youngest definitely adhered to my hygiene principals a LOT more than usual when making the gingerbread.  Thank you, Primary one!!


Ancestral Yum

While I’m on the topic of baking, I must show you some of the wonderful haul my Mum brought over on Friday!

I have shared with you before that I struggle to do domestic things well or consistently, and that I therefore will spend time reading books and watching YouTube videos about how to keep my house clean/decluttered/running smoothly on a regular basis, often revelling in ‘old school’ advice I find along the way.  (I love learning new uses for Baking Soda, for example).

I love poring over old patterns for knitted socks, marvel at the tiny crochet hooks that were used for lace, feel honoured holding a book or crafting implement someone close to me had…

Some of my best friends and teachers in my life were my Great Grandad (my Mum’s paternal Grandfather) my Great Gran (my Mum’s maternal Grandmother) My maternal Grandmother (Nana) and -Father (Grandad) and my Dad’s folks, too (called Grandma and Grandad). 

I have always loved listening to the stories from older generations and wondering how I would cope in their shoes – especially now that I am supposed to be running a house of my own and raising kids…!

With this background outlined, you can maybe get an inkling of my delight when my Mum presented me with handwritten notebooks that belonged to her paternal Grandmother (whom I never got to meet in person and I have grown up with being referred to as my mother’s ‘Big Nana’). They not only contain recipes but also include the odd tip for how to clean things, what concoctions to mix up for different ailments and also some old temperature conversions…!! 😀

Notebooks - view 1 Notebooks - view 2 Notebooks - view 3


There were a couple of lovely hardbacks, that I remember from my Nana’s kitchen, in the pile as well:

Leather bound cookbooks

and quite a few recipe tomes and pamphlets from the 1920s onwards that I am going to spend many a happy hour going through in the next few months (and will probably blog about) 😉


The Joy Of Homework?

Youngest has brought home his first proper homework tasks today!  There have been reading books in his bag for a couple of weeks now, which we have enjoyed, but this ‘Learning Log’ (that gets issued on a Wednesday and handed in the following Monday) will mean we can sit up at the Diningroom table as a family, chat about the work and share in each boy’s progress.

Youngest used to stand on a bathroom step in Eldest’s room and scribble on wipe clean learning materials at homework time, when Eldest was in Primary one.  Youngest has had many excerpts from books read to him by Eldest over the last three years, learned his letters and simple sums alongside his brother and helped out with games and projects that have instilled key concepts – but Youngest having schoolwork of his own to do is a milestone both boys will relish, I’m sure.

Memory from August 2015

Fingers crossed it all goes as well in reality as it does in my imagination…!

Youngest 'reading' The Times in 2016



I wrote a poem about a little friend we made on the schoolrun today, and I thought I’d share it to finish off this post 😉


The Golden Slug


A sunny day: us walking, talking, running fast and loose;

Your brilliance was spotted by our mother (mid-vamoose).

“Ah look!” she said, “a golden slug, just wandering past here –

It’s lucky you didn’t squash him!” Intrigued, we came to peer…

The Golden Slug

“A golden slug?” we chorused, as our interest neared its peak;

“How’s that even possible?! What does this bright slug eat?”

“I don’t know…” said our mother. We all had a think, and then

I decided it liked sunshine (or a lemon) with its friends.


“Yellow leaves” said my brother, “or some paint and – BANANAS!”

(This started off some Minions’ speak that made us also dance…)

Mum ushered us away and gave you, slug, your sweet release

Us waving, blowing kisses – goodbye, conversation piece!


Is it just me, or could the slug’s shadow almost be a man’s face in profile??

I hope you’ve all had a lovely Wednesday, and I’ll be back soon to let you know how the boys fared with their homework!


Come visit the Facebook page and follow @ComfyRestless on Twitter

Copyright © 2018  Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Toothfairy Tales Chapter 4: A Foxy Blue Carrot

Childhood, Parenting, Things I Made This Week 2 Comments »


[Part 1 of Toothfairy Tales is here, Part 2 is here and Part 3 is here]

On the 5th of September, I was due to go to lunch with a friend, for the first time since I’ve had both boys at school all day. On other occasions, even just trying to sneak out for a coffee with this friend has seen one or other of the boys complain of a sore stomach/cold/another convincing reason for not going near their educational establishment…so I was kind of expecting something to go wrong that morning.

Sure enough: Eldest bit into some toast and came away with a bloody tooth. He promptly ran upstairs to tell me about it, threatening to smear my cream bedclothes in gore (or so I feared). Hubby took Eldest through to the bathroom, but after a quick clean up session it was declared a false alarm and not wobbly enough to warrant my dentistry skills.  In fact, Eldest quite happily walked to school with the wobbler being energetically manipulated by his tongue every two seconds :-/

There was still a definite request for an orange toy made, and the very real threat of me burning the midnight oil again dangling above my head. I wandered back home blethering to another pal, then tidied up and Googled free crochet patterns before heading back out around 11.30am for the promised lunch. 

As all ladies of leisure do, of course.

By 2.45pm, the world suitably put to rights and our stomachs brimming, my friend and I walked back up to the school to collect our charges at their respective doors. Predictably, Eldest presented me with a post-it note, sellotaped together in order to envelope his tooth.

Tooth in a Post-it

I (sorry, the fairy) again had it confirmed that this was to be a foxy incisor.

The clock began ticking.

Unfortunately, the day went downhill from there and Eldest’s behaviour became atrocious, despite my warnings that tooth fairies are like Santa and don’t give rewards to boys who are badly behaved.  Things did not improve by bedtime, so I advised Eldest not to put the tooth under his pillow because he’d be disappointed and it also makes tooth fairies sad when they can’t do their jobs properly.

8th incisor gone!

I had found this pattern by Annelien Vanessche on Ravelry, so I started making it around 11pm –  when our now regretful Eldest had finally fallen asleep, I had straightened a few things up in the house and also eaten my tea and cake!


Thursday 6th September

Around midnight, I had finished the head/body and decided that I wanted to crochet the ears straight onto the fox instead of following the instructions in the pattern.  They turned out ok, and I also managed not to mess up sewing the eyes with black yarn, which is always a bonus! 

The tail was pretty easy to crochet as well, though I sewed around it very firmly because I was sure that it would probably be the part that would suffer the most abuse from the boys 😉

Fox is finished!

So yesterday Eldest woke up to one pound in silver and an orange fox under his pillow – with a note asking where his tooth was! Eldest was quick to point out (at my bedside) that I had been wrong about the tooth fairy judging his behaviour. Youngest sagely advised that it was only because we have a kind fairy that Eldest got a present even without a tooth in exchange. 

Toothfairy note

Regardless of the circumstances, Eldest was pleased with his gift and, after poring over the Toothfairy’s writing for a bit (which scared me as I had not bothered with the backwards faff this time like I did here, but just some creative left handed scribbling with smudges and misspellings) he christened his fox “Chase” and went downstairs for breakfast. 

Youngest stayed and cuddled me for a while, and mentioned that for his first tooth he wants “a blue carrot”. We talked about when that might be and whether he thought the tooth fairy would lose her job for not having a tooth to bring back to her boss that morning.

Youngest didn’t think she’d get into trouble and was sure we’d still have the same fairy in about a year’s time when he needed her.

The tooth was dutifully put under Eldest’s pillow that night to even things up…


Friday 7th September (aka today…)

Eldest was pretty sleepy this morning and didn’t want to get out of bed. I went through to his room and asked him if he thought the fairy had taken his tooth in the night. He put his hand under his pillow to check and brought out a little parcel…

Eldest took the parcel onto the landing, as there was better light there, and Youngest stumbled out of his room to look, too. It appeared there was something wrapped inside a note…and it was tied with bit of blue yarn.

The second Toothfairy note

Eldest unfurled the note and found a blue carrot, which he handed to Youngest.

The boys’ eyes met and they both started giggling.  The note thanked Eldest for the tooth and asked him to say hi to Youngest. It was signed ‘The Toofairy’.

I whispered in Youngest’s ear that it must have been because he said she was kind. The look on his wee face was priceless.

We all went back to ‘the big bed’ for our usual cuddles, but these ones were punctuated by an orange fox stalking a blue carrot around the mound of covers made by mum’s body. The boys even brought through Jack and Richard (my ‘grandbabies’) to get in on the fun.

Grandbabies and Toothfairy toysGrandbabies and Toothfairy toys 2

It is hard explaining to the kids that not all tooth fairies leave toys, and that maybe they shouldn’t labour the point with their pals (!) Youngest reasons that our fairy, therefore, doesn’t have access to plastic or other materials like Santa has, so she spends time making things out of yarn to keep his brother happy.

If the boys ever lose teeth together one day, I have the feeling Youngest’s estimations of his wee winged friend may go down a little: The Toothfairy Tribe all look a bit glaikit and/or surprised, due to their rushed construction, as it is 😉



[The carrot pattern was found here]


Come visit the Facebook page and follow @ComfyRestless on Twitter

Copyright © 2018  Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!


Toothfairy Tales Chapter 3: Santa, Baby – and Mike

Childhood, Parenting 1 Comment »

Hey there 🙂

I made a rookie mistake today: I tried to do something out of my ordinary routine.

I booked lunch with a friend.

(Lunch!  I know!!  A conversation with another adult – while eating – in the middle of the day without children.  I was giddy with the prospect!)

This did not go unnoticed by the rule-keeper of the Mumiverse.

It so happened that Eldest’s maxillary right lateral incisor (tooth between front and canine) decided to come loose, and I walked away towards home with a cuddly reward request ringing in my ears – that might have to be presented tomorrow morning – but the tooth was still (literally) hanging in there by the time I saw Eldest off at school, so I’m crossing my fingers for more time…

This brought me to the realisation that I haven’t written an instalment of my “Tooth Fairy Tales” in quite a while, so I will blog you up to date with our expanding menagerie of colourful critters…which has grown to encompass humanoids recently, as you may have guessed from the post title 😉

[The preceding two chapters are here and here]


It does seem like Eldest’s teeth have a fondness for trying to cover his collars in blood just as I am desperate to manoeuvre the kids towards the front door of a school morning!  Again, it was a race against time to get this tooth out and us all in the car (thankfully it was a Thursday and Hubby was working from home) on the 30th of November last year.

Although I am usually the squeamish one, Hubby really doesn’t like watching the gory twiddlings involved in a tooth howking session, so I drew the short straw because my mothering instinct trumps pretty much anything.

Damn you, nature! *shakes fist*

According to my gruesome pictures (which I took on Hubby’s phone, ha!!) the critical stage happened between 8.21am and 8.35am. We then had a free (bottom left) incisor! Yaaay!

Bottom left incisor is out!

(I made sure to indicate to Eldest how proud I was of him for being so time conscious)

I was busy that day, I can’t remember what I was doing (probably researching a suitable pattern?), but I didn’t get to sit and start making Lucy Ravenscar’s Chubby Santa until almost half past six that evening…then got waylaid considerably by the boys’ bedtime shenanigans; hanging laundry above the landing; realising I would need to swap yarns because it was too thin for the hook I was using (and I probably didn’t have enough of it anyway)…the usual fluff n nonsense!

Starting Santa

I had crocheted Santa’s hat by 1.03am on the Friday; added a face, hair, beard and bobble by 2.27am; given him eyes and started his outfit by 3.07am and had finished him and parcelled up £1 in silver coins by 4.18am.

Santa is ready to go

I was a mite tired when Eldest came in two hours later to tell me all about it, and to inform me it was now December and the real Santa would be visiting soon…

…But it was a happy gap-toothed seven-year-old who posed for some pics in our chaotic living room that morning before school 😉

Eldest approved of Santa



All was then quiet on the tooth front (or the front eight teeth?) until March, when on the 7th Eldest complained about his 6th wobbler.

I casually (!) asked him what he was hoping for from the fairy this time, and he said: “a baby”.  A little worried (!!) I asked him whether he meant a proper one, a toy one, or a baby animal…?  He clarified that he meant a toy, but in the shape of a human baby. Phew… 😉

Cue me racking my brains for any patterns I had seen that looked easy!

I discovered Happy Berry’s YouTube pattern after dinner, and began watching it.  I realised pretty quickly that I would only have time to make the hat or the nappy from Part 2 before bed.  I made the nappy that night and the hat the next, and then was working on the baby on the 9th when Eldest actually lost the tooth!

Sixth tooth gone!

It was clear to me (around 11pm) that there was no way I was going to be able to finish all the sewing etc of the baby for the next day (as I was exhausted from another crazy kid-filled week) so I was then confronted with a dilemma: how to explain to Eldest that the Toothfairy needed more time, without him being really disappointed?!

Toothfairy note

I plumped for writing a note.  In my fatigued state, I decided it would be a good idea to do this in mirror writing, because even if I used my left hand it would probably look like I had written the note.  So I sat at a ridiculous time of night and figured out how to write backwards with my left hand, realising too late that the notepaper I was using had an identifiable wee drawing on it.  I cut that off and just put a weirdly shaped bit of paper in with the hat and nappy.

I am not that good at this planning stuff…

There was a good deal of discussion between our boys about what the items were when Eldest unwrapped the nappy and hat the next morning.  (I had fun showing them that if you put the nappy upside down and then the hat behind it, it looked like a tortoise). 

Baby's hat and nappy

They did come up with the correct descriptions for my handiwork in the end though, and there was excitement at bedtime again with the prospect of maybe catching a Toothfairy lugging some sort of baby-like creation into Eldest’s room!

I had a thicker yarn for the baby’s skin tone (a Red Heart skein, but I bought it about a decade ago, so I can’t recall the name!) and thought that doubling up on the DK yarns I had used for the hat and nappy would make them big enough.  This unfortunately wasn’t quite the case in reality, however, and I had to squash the baby’s head a little to make the hat stay on. 


Why haven’t I bought thicker yarn in Eldest’s favourite colour yet?!

I finally finished the baby in the early hours of Mothers’ Day.  Luckily it was another hit, and this time I was rewarded with lovely hand-drawn cards as well as being taken out for a family lunch – so it was all worth it 😉

A finished baby




I was determined not to sit up to all hours making this one, so I was doing my happy dance when Eldest asked for “a little bear” in exchange for his 7th incisor!  I knew that there was a free Lucy Ravenscar pattern that would be perfect, so I made it the same night, wrapped it up in toilet roll and hid it in a cupboard.  It took me less than two hours!

I can’t quite remember when this occurred, but it must have been near the end of June, in the midst of making a teacher gift and other things (see here).  By our West Cork holiday in the second week of July, the tooth was still in place and I was briefing Eldest on the fact that even if it departed his mouth on holiday, our Toothfairy would probably wait until we were home to pop the requested bear under his pillow. 

Although he had given her lots of notice, I reasoned, it had to be difficult to fly all that way with a bear in tow…and she wouldn’t want to send it via her friends in case it got lost (of course).

I needn’t have worried: the tooth didn’t fall out until the evening of the 20th of July, nigh on a month after I had catered for it. 

Eldest's 7th incisor is OUT

I luxuriated in my relaxed evening, and was thrilled when Eldest got up, cuddled his little red bear and decided to call him Mike after the character in Monsters Inc.

A startled-looking Mike



And that’s you all up to date on our Toothfairy shenanigans!!


Except…look what the school sent home with Eldest this afternoon:


Sleep is overrated anyway.

*reaches for the orange DK yarn again*



Come visit the Facebook page and follow @ComfyRestless on Twitter

Copyright © 2018  Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Beetled Off

Childhood, Other Poetry, Parenting, Relationships 2 Comments »


Happy Tuesday, one and all!

Hubby had a dentist appointment to scoot to this morning, so he dropped me (and the kids) off at the school playground suuuuper early.  Youngest and I hugged Eldest and left him near his classroom door, then we sauntered off to the P1 entrance and twirled about a bit in the empty space (as one does).

Slightly dizzy (!), we went and stood near an untidy strip of grass that the children (mostly boys 😉 ) seem to gravitate towards before the bell rings.  We were treated to the sight of a black slug meandering through an area of dried mud between grass clumps, and soon became aware of a small shiny insect moving fast and seemingly on a collision course with the slug (hard to make out from my pic)

Youngest and I came up with some theories as to where each creature was going, and what they would be saying to each other; and we protected our small friends from any clumsy human who gambolled over and wondered what we were up to.  Youngest giggled with me, appreciating the silly voices I attributed to the slug and insect, and pitching in with his own versions.

We watched the insect hurry off, and the slug slide almost out of sight beneath a patch of weeds, before the bell rang.  It was oddly satisfying.

When I settled to think up a poem for today, my playground fun was obviously still on my mind 😉


A tiny beetle, bustling by

A slug encountered – so he cried

“Oh Mr Slug, I am so late!

Could you please quickly relocate?”


“What’s that you say?” asked Mr Slug

(His face in leaves that blocked his lugs)


“PLEASE MOVE!” said Beetle “on your way:

I have a lot to do today!”


Well! Beetle was then most perplexed

By Mr Slug’s slow progress!


That harried beetle huffed and sighed,

Tutted loudly, rolled his eyes…

“I see no shell upon your back

Must you go as slow as that?!

I have appointments I must keep –

Shopping to do before I sleep…!”


“Oh patience, Beetle! Can’t you see?                                       

Slugs are not made to move quickly!

I’m doing you a favour here –

Can you not run around my rear?!”

The Slug


Beetle did just that, but he

Still did not seem to be happy

“Look here Mr Slug: you might

Think next time to be more polite!

Us little fellows do deserve

To have our point of view observed!”


Mr Slug could not even see

The beetle, but he quite believed

That humans might be justified

In not liking insects to thrive…

“And who are you to lecture ME

On acts of common decency??

I don’t wish to discuss further

Such nonsense; besides – look – our murder

Could come at any time now… Gee!

School playgrounds fill up rapidly!

All those children…! 

                                  Running feet

Could spell our end – let me retreat!”


“Fine!!” said Beetle, off he scrammed

(Dodging the shoes of Ed and Sam)

The slug harrumphed (and later ate

A nice big leaf to compensate)


Our pair seemed less grumpy in real life, but I brandish a licence here, don’t I…? 😉


Come visit the Facebook page and follow @ComfyRestless on Twitter

Copyright © 2018  Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!


Other Poetry 2 Comments »

Hey there 🙂

Today I turned to The Writer’s Block by Jason Rekulak .  (Well, Hubby did, under my direction).  Hubby opened the book at a little piece about  experimenting with clothes to see if this helped with, or changed, the writing experience.  It talked about other writers and what they were comfortable writing in…


Victor Hugo

(It is said)

Wrote without

Wearing a thread;

But I sit near a window and

Find pencils sulk in chilly hands.

The Thinker


I am not one to rock up nude

To much, I must point out, and should

The notion take me unawares:

I’d get squeamish about my chairs…


So: sloppy jeggings, comfy sleeves

Are my firm favourites, cos they leave

Me one less thing to then think through

When there’s a dreich school run to do…


What are your clothes of choice for following your passion(s)?!


[Pic is from here]


Come visit the Facebook page and follow @ComfyRestless on Twitter

Copyright © 2018  Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!