‘Mummy and daddy gone onna mini break’

This is what BB has been telling anyone who’ll listen following our night away at Foxhills Hotel & Spa in Surrey at the weekend. ‘Mini break’ sounds so extravagant and self-indulgent, and I suppose it was (pictured). Luxurious rooms with king-size beds, a king-size bath (even Misery Guts, who’s 6ft 4, could lie down in it) and a health spa complete with a 20m pool with vaulted ceilings and ‘mood lighting’ all promised and delivered a restorative 24 hours away from being mummy and daddy. And all despite my reservations that the trip was going to go pear shaped when Misery Guts demanded 10% off the bill before we’d even left the house because the hotel’s restaurant was closed (a fact they failed to tell us when making the booking) even though we had never planned to eat there in the first place. […]

By |February 12th, 2014|Beauty, Exercise, Family life, Health, Parenting, Reviews, Travel|2 Comments

Is it ok for two-year-olds to have TV viewing habits?

Misery Guts and I are off to a hotel & spa leaving BB in the capable hands of my sister this weekend (and by the sounds of the weather forecast we couldn’t have picked a better time). It’s the first time we’ve left her overnight with anyone other than grandparents, and only the second time we’ve been away on our own without her. As a result I’ve been busy preparing instructions, like a sticky label with the numbers of all her favourite channels next to the TV (pictured). I’m not sure what this says about us as parents. First and foremost is number 71, CBeebies, which promises to get anyone in charge of a small child safely through the day, especially when it’s raining. But as soon as the opening tea-time credits of In The Night Garden appear BB shrieks, which I suspect is less about having grown out of Upsy Daisy, and more about knowing bedtime is looming. So we switch over to number 70, CBBC, where BB loves Tracy Beaker (spoilt brat in a care home – if you’ve never seen it, lucky you) after which she demands ‘the racing cars’, by which she means Top Gear on Dave. The only deviation from this viewing schedule is on Saturdays, when You’ve Been Framed can be found on ITV2. […]

By |February 7th, 2014|Discipline, Family life, Parenting, Travel|4 Comments

School name tapes: I freely admit I can’t be bothered

Lazy mums like me are being blamed for sending 140-year-old school name tag maker Cash’s into administration. Apparently the latest [...]

By |February 5th, 2014|Family life, Fashion, Money, News, Parenting|8 Comments

Recipes your toddler (and you) will love

I’ve suffered my triannual anxiety attack in which I fear we’ve come to rely too much on sausages and potato waffles and the same meals on the same day of each week. In a fit of renewed I-must-get-more-vegetables-into-BB I went in search of a new cookbook featuring meals I know she requests seconds of at nursery (when her little friends are sat beside her happily tucking in) like spaghetti carbonara and chicken curry but won’t touch with a barge pole at home. Nestled between the River Cottage baby and toddler cookbook with quinoa this and spelt that (too poncey pretentious for me) and the obligatory Annabel Karmel recipes (always far too time consuming) I found The Baby-Led Weaning Recipe Book by Felicity Bertin and Emma Ogden-Hooper. As an advocate of baby-led weaning but with a toddler who now refuses to suck the tips from a tree of broccoli or peel the layers off a sprout I discovered a book packed full of normal, simple family recipes like cottage pie and fish cakes all with a healthy portion of ‘hidden’ veg. […]

By |February 3rd, 2014|Books, Family life, Food, Health, Reviews, Weaning|2 Comments

‘I’m guilt-ridden and torn between two roles’

Guilt-ridden, torn between two roles and overlooked. This is the current state-of-mind of working mums according to research revealed by The Work & Family Show this week. Apparently 80% of new mums feel guilty about going back to work and leaving their child in the care of others, and childcare responsibilities still fall on the mother’s shoulders even when both parents are working. I suspect this study is only scratching at the surface of the mental state of working mums today, who if anything like me are on a constant treadmill of trying to run a household and raise children while at the same time earning enough money to ensure the smooth running of that household and maintain a career. […]

By |January 31st, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, News, Work life|0 Comments

Four Funerals and a Wedding

I’ve been charged with the very important task of writing a report on BB’s 90-year-old great granddad’s wedding for the newsletter of the retirement complex where he and his new bride, 87, live. Apparently the front page usually features coverage of the latest funeral so I’m hoping my contribution will provide a bit of light relief (if I were the editor I’d throw caution to the wind with the headline ‘Four Funerals and a Wedding’). I’d always imagined retirement complexes to be as dull and quiet as the grave, but it turns out more goes on than I thought. BB’s great granddad told me (pictured) that the pair met at a Pimm’s party (sounds like fun!) in the building’s communal lounge just five months ago before embarking on a whirlwind romance (ok, he didn’t exactly use the word whirlwind) culminating in their wedding last Sunday. […]

By |January 29th, 2014|Family life|0 Comments

Happy Birthday crummy mummy!

It’s official: confessions of a crummy mummy is one today and I’ve been blogging for a whole year (if anyone fancies sending me some cake, or better still, some champers, please feel free). A lot can happen in a year, as a quick flick through the archives has revealed: Twelve months ago today, in my very first post, I declared time on the milk bar and began a five month task of giving up breastfeeding. This was surprisingly straightforward and culminated in me mourning the process far more than BB, which I recorded for posterity by composing my first poem since my schooldays – An Ode to BB. There have been funny times, like the day BB woke from a nap having fashioned an exquisite bouffant while sleeping. […]

By |January 20th, 2014|Breast feeding, Family life, Food, Reviews, Travel|4 Comments

Good manners begin at home

Or in the playground. I write this as my heart aches for the five-year-old son of a friend, who this week stood expectantly in his school playground as a fellow pupil’s mum dished out birthday party invitations, only to find he wasn’t invited. So crushed was he at being excluded, and in such a public manner, that he didn’t want to go into school, leaving his poor mum to pick up the pieces. What is wrong with people? If you can’t (or won’t) invite the whole class to Jimmy’s birthday celebrations, why not hand the invites to the teacher who can – discreetly – put the envelopes in the school bags of the selected few? Perhaps the mum in question prefers the tough love approach, or perhaps a similar thing happened to her as a child and she is taking some sort of revenge. Or, more likely, she just didn’t think. […]

By |January 14th, 2014|Discipline, Family life|3 Comments

Boobie Beanie: a breast feeding mum’s must-have

Yes you did read correctly. This is a Boobie Beanie, aka a breast feeding hat, designed – you guessed it – with boobies in mind. If you’ve ever wanted to stick two fingers up to the person (there’s always one) who insists on having a good look when you need to breast feed in public then one of these on the baby’s head is the way to do it. […]

By |January 8th, 2014|Breast feeding, Craft, Family life, Reviews|0 Comments

‘Nordmann non drop my a**e’

…said Misery Guts when we returned from our annual festive getaway to find more pine needles on the floor than on the tree itself. For once he had good reason to be miserable: of the five days we spent visiting parents and in-laws, he spent two in bed with a migraine and two days and a night at Southampton General Hospital (pictured). It turns out a sinus infection and a severe migraine are not conditions one wants to experience at the same time. One required intravenous antibiotics, the other liquid morphine. It’s fair to say it’s been a stressful one this year, so I won’t be sorry to wave goodbye to 2013 and welcome 2014. […]

By |December 31st, 2013|Family life, Health|2 Comments

‘Chunkier’ advent calendar chocolate: why oh why?

Is it just me or is the world going mad? Or advent calendar makers to be precise. I couldn’t help but furnish BB with her first chocolate advent calendar this year – it seemed cruel not to – and she loves Thomas the Tank Engine, for which there isn’t a non-chocolate picture alternative available. Or it seemed cruel until my eyes fell on the boast ‘chunkier chocolate for the final five days’ (pictured), when it was already opened and too late to take back. Chunkier chocolate for the final five days??!! I am outraged. Why oh why? So the child can gradually expand their stomach in time for the day itself, ready to gorge on even more confectionary? And since when did advent calendars have 25, as opposed to 24, chocolates? No wonder this country has an obesity problem. […]

By |December 4th, 2013|Family life, Food, Health|0 Comments

Easy peasy gluten-free Christmas cake recipe

With Misery Guts following a gluten-free Paleo diet and me doing my best to clean up my own act I’ve been making a gluten-free Christmas cake for the last few years. Finding a decent recipe was harder than I thought, but I finally found a great one so I thought I’d share my easy peasy gluten-free Christmas cake recipe for anyone looking for a free-from option. I simply took ever-dependable Delia Smith’s classic Christmas cake recipe and substituted the flour for ground almonds and a teeny weeny bit of gluten-free plain flour. She also uses chopped almonds, so fearing almond overload I opted for chopped pistachios instead. Here’s how I did it: […]

By |November 25th, 2013|Family life, Food, Health|4 Comments

Get ready for Stir-up Sunday!

This weekend is the last before advent which means only one thing: this Sunday is Stir-up Sunday and time to make the Christmas pudding. Except I won’t be making a pudding because my brother usually arrives armed with a posh one from one London food hall or another, so I’m making the cake instead. Which poses the question: how to decorate it this year? This is last year’s effort (pictured), which paid homage to a year in which we celebrated the Olympics, the diamond jubilee and the pitter patter of tiny royal feet. (I was rather pleased with the feet – I sprayed pink footprints I had left over from a christening cake with edible gold spray). […]

By |November 22nd, 2013|Family life, Food|0 Comments

In bed with…a festive gift guide

There are just 36 sleeps until Christmas and I am beside myself with anticipation. Not for the event itself, but for the festive gift guides that will land on my mat between now and then. These are the supplements I seek out first when the weekend papers arrive, greedily scanning the covers and putting them somewhere ‘safe’ until I can sit down with a cup of tea (or wine) and a pen, or curl up in bed, and start leafing. So far we have had offerings from companies one never hears of for 11 months of the year, with titles like ‘Museum Selection’ and ‘Heritage Home’. Where do they trade for the rest of the year? And who thinks up their inventions? […]

By |November 18th, 2013|Books, Family life|0 Comments

Remember remember ear defenders

It didn’t even occur to me to kit BB out with ear defenders ahead of our annual fireworks display this weekend, and this is the result (pictured). She spent almost the entire 25 minutes with her head buried in Misery Guts’ chest, peeping out every now and again only to shut her eyes even more tightly and bury herself even more deeply. I’m not sure why I didn’t consider that a toddler, safely encompassed in ear defenders, might enjoy a visual show more than a popping and banging one, but I didn’t. […]

By |November 4th, 2013|Family life, Health|0 Comments