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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

5 things to do with pumpkin innards this Halloween

The pumpkin has been carved, the candles have been lit and your little monster is staring in wonder at the finished result. [...]

By |October 30th, 2013|Family life, Food|8 Comments

Read With Me Violet: mum’s best friend

BB has a new pet. She’s called Violet (pictured) and since she landed on our doormat last weekend they’ve been everywhere together. And I mean everywhere. I’ve found Violet perched on top of the toilet, sitting on the open dishwasher door and being ‘fed’ apple juice. I even had to wrestle her from BB’s arms at 9pm on Tuesday night because, despite having switched her off, BB had turned her on again and the pair were chattering away in the darkness to the dulcet tones of Frere Jacques. […]

By |October 25th, 2013|Books, Family life, Reviews|0 Comments

Heirloom christening gowns aren’t just for royals…

When Prince George made his entrance into the Church of England it got me thinking about BB’s christening in July 2012. [...]

By |October 23rd, 2013|Family life, Fashion|10 Comments

Standing when pregnant…perish the thought!

So the PC brigade have got themselves in a tizz after seven-months-pregnant equalities minister Jo Swinson was ‘forced’ to stand at prime minister’s questions this week because all the seats were taken by (male) backbenchers. ‘None of the MPs sitting just feet away offered her a seat,’ lambasts one report. ‘Really shocking lack of manners and decency,’ says another. Had she actually approached them and asked to sit down I’m sure they’d have readily budged up. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone that the poor woman may have spent the morning chained to her desk, ankles swelling and bum numbing, and may actually have welcomed 30 minutes in which to stand and get her circulation going again. […]

By |October 18th, 2013|Family life, News|1 Comment

Breastfeeding: the aftermath

I know I promised not to write anymore on the subject, but circumstances have conspired to induce me to take to my laptop once again. It’s now been five months since I stopped breastfeeding BB, and in those months I have felt so under the weather that I hardly remember what it’s like to feel on top of it. It started with an eye infection which took three GPs to diagnose correctly, quickly followed by an ear infection requiring two separate courses of antibiotics. Then there was a tummy bug which lasted a full 4 weeks, forcing me to cancel social events and sending me to bed, twice. Oh, and then there was a nasty mouth ulcer. At first I put the feeling of general malaise down to the ‘fug’ of new motherhood, broken nights that lasted more than a year and running around after a toddler. But surely the fug oughtn’t to last two years. And, on reflection, feeling like I’ve been knocked over the head with a cricket bat by mid afternoon every day isn’t quite right either. […]

By |October 7th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Food, Health|4 Comments