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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

Cloudy with a chance of trouble

BB has had her first trip to the cinema. And not just any old cinema: London’s Vue cinema in Leicester Square for a preview of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, the latest animation from Sony Pictures three weeks before it is released thanks to tickets Misery Guts managed to bag through work. There was a chroma key screen where we had our photo taken with the characters (pictured), a balloon artist moulding fruit featured in the film, goodie bags with balls of watermelon shaped into meatballs, face painting, balloons and all manner of willy wonka-style treats to eat. With a two year old the trip was always going to go one of two ways – really well or really badly. […]

By |September 30th, 2013|Family life|0 Comments

Thomson holidays in Majorca: no more worries for a day or two

The kids are back at school, the nights are drawing in and flights are finally back to their term-time price tags. Meaning there’s no better time for some late summer sun. As a result BB and I have been on our first girlie holiday together: an all-inclusive package deal to Majorca where the temperature at this time of year averages a respectable 27 degrees. Envious? You should be. It was a week of firsts for us: the first time BB has had her own seat on a plane, the first time I have travelled solo with a toddler, suitcase and pushchair in tow, the first time BB has been without her daddy for more than two nights in a row, the first time we have visited the Balearics and the first time we have experienced an all-inclusive package holiday. When Thomson – which is targeting young families with its pioneering Family Resorts concept – first asked me to review its Majorcan offering, the Protur Aparthotel Bonaire in Cala Bona, I must admit I was sceptical about whether a holiday with obligatory wrist bands, buffet meals and evening entertainment was really for us. […]

By |September 25th, 2013|Family days out, Family life, Food, Reviews, Travel, Uncategorized|9 Comments

Mummy bloggers: we’re pretty great too

Last Monday’s post about a great woman being behind every man on a man diet got me thinking: mummy bloggers [...]

By |September 23rd, 2013|Family life, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Behind every (slimmed down) man is a great woman

So Colin Firth has shed a stone or two, prompting much media back slapping and extolling of the benefits of the ‘man diet’. It’s not clear how he did it – colonic irrigation? Weight Watchers? Hypnotherapy? – but I’m willing to bet his wife played no small part in proceedings, and I’ve not seen her similarly congratulated. I suspect there’s a woman’s hand in this because so far this year Misery Guts has also managed to shed a stone or two embracing the paleo diet, aka the caveman diet, which means no carbs and lots of meat, fish and eggs. It sounds simple enough, but try coming up with decent evening meals with no pasta, potatoes, rice, noodles, grain or bread week in week out. We’re going through 24 eggs a week (the checking of them alone adds 5 minutes to the weekly shop) and of course I’ve inadvertently been on the diet too because I can’t be bothered don’t have the time to prepare two separate meals. […]

By |September 16th, 2013|Family life, Health, News|0 Comments

My family and other animals

I can’t wait until BB starts talking properly. We had Nephew Number 1, nine, to stay last weekend, and among the conversations was this little gem in the car on the way back from Pizza Express: Nephew Number 1: Do penguins have teeth? Misery Guts: No, I don’t believe they do. Nephew Number 1: Do any birds have teeth? Misery Guts: I can categorically say that there are no birds with teeth. (Is this correct? I have no idea) Nephew Number 1: Well, I know of a bird that has teeth. […]

By |September 6th, 2013|Family life|10 Comments

Thank goodness for Doc Martin

The nights are drawing in and I am beside myself with excitement, in only the way a mum consigned to the house owing to a sleeping toddler can be. Weeknight TV is about to get good. Really good. And I’ve got it all mapped out. Guilty pleasure #1: the new series of Doc Martin starts tonight on ITV. Yipeee. One can fein interest for the glorious views of Cornwall, but we all know that’s a big fat lie. Then on Tuesdays and Wednesdays there’s a double bill of telly treats. First there’s the Great British Bake Off on BBC2, followed by Don’t Tell The Bride on BBC3. On Wednesdays Restoration Home on BBC2 is followed by the new series of Grand Designs on Channel 4. I’m in TV heaven. […]

By |September 2nd, 2013|Family life|0 Comments

Smile! Oh sorry, you can’t: new-borns making Facebook debut

57.9 minutes. That’s the average amount of time it takes for images of more than two thirds of new-borns to appear on social media after their birth according to the print website Posterista. And, surprise surprise, Facebook is the most popular choice for that all-important photographic debut. I don’t think we’d even managed to get hold of both sets of grandparents within 57.9 minutes of BB’s birth (after waiting for the phone to ring with baited breath for two weeks they’d given up and were gardening instead, phones buzzing on kitchen tables) let alone reach for the camera. I suppose smartphones are at play here – it’s not as though new dads have a camera poised, take the first pic, kiss wifey goodbye and then leap into the car and race home to upload the precious picture to their PC and hit ‘post’ within an hour of the birth. A few clicks of the phone and it’s done, which begs the question: why the 57.8 minute delay? […]

By |August 28th, 2013|Family life, News|0 Comments

New kids on the block

There is much excitement in our neck of the woods: a new nursery is about to open and I don’t know who’s more excited – the adults or the children. It all started a few months ago when the boards were removed from the windows of a derelict house on the way to the shops, right next door to a well-established, but tired looking, nursery. First trees were pulled down and a beautifully crafted wooden tepee and pirate ship appeared in their place, then shiny emerald astro turf went down in perfectly aligned stripes. BB – and the rest of the children in the neighbourhood – were beside themselves every time they passed, and stopping to admire the latest playground furniture has become routine. Much ooing and ahhing has been audible, and not just from the kids. […]

By |August 21st, 2013|Family life|0 Comments