Memories are made of…licking a Kenwood ‘K’

Birthday cake making has commenced and as a result BB has reached a milestone: she has licked the Kenwood ‘K’. [...]

By |August 12th, 2013|Family life, Food, Health|4 Comments

Just call me the cake fairy

The venue has been booked, the invitations have been sent and with BB’s 2nd birthday just around the corner it’s time to turn my attention to the most important task of all: her birthday cake. Here is last year’s effort (pictured), In The Night Garden eat your heart out, which I have to say went down a treat even if I do say so myself. The trouble is I’ve set the bar now, which means I’ve got to come up with something equally creative this year. Which is easier said than done, as this time last year BB was happy to jump around in her door bouncer as I painstakingly fashioned Makka Pakka’s tail out of fondant icing and secured Upsy Daisy’s hair with edible glue. Misery Guts suggested we ask someone else to make one given I’m no longer on maternity leave and have zero time on my hands, but I’m afraid this is akin to a cardinal sin where I come from: birthday cakes have always been (handmade) by mum, with as much effort as one can muster. So there’ll be no outsourcing here. […]

By |August 7th, 2013|Family life, Food|3 Comments

We’re DEFINITELY not there yet, mummy

A trip to the garage on Saturday afternoon to upgrade the car posed a dilemma: do we go for the metallic blue sporty model with a touch screen dashboard and alloy wheels or the hatchback estate in sensible silver with a bigger, lower boot and plenty of room for Christmas presents. It was a simple case of head over heart. The blue sporty model, roughly the same size as our car now, but better looking and with better gadgets. And we’d still have to take the damn wheels off the Quinny to haul the ****ing thing in the boot. Whereas the sensible silver estate comes with a boot so big and so low all the frailest person in the world would need is a little minor exertion and the pushchair would be safely stowed away in one piece, as opposed to five. And there’d still be room for a scooter and a bike. And Christmas presents. […]

By |August 5th, 2013|Family life, Travel|2 Comments

How about a naughty corner…for dads

I feel like a really really crummy mummy. We’ve introduced a ‘naughty corner’ and the expression on BB’s face when she was first put there by Misery Guts will be imprinted on my mind forever (pictured posed by a model, by the way. I’m not that awful).To be honest it’s been a long time coming: discipline up until now has been pretty much zero. Misery Guts has been banging on about a naughty step for a while, and when BB upturned a lunch I’d lovingly prepared for her and threw it straight on the floor it was the final straw.Since we live in flat and have only one step (which is between two rooms and where she likes to sit to watch TV) a corner in the hall away from toys, CBeebies and anything vaguely fun was the only option. I was in a different room when Misery Guts deposited her there and I waited with bated breath, peering round the kitchen door, to see what would happen. […]

By |August 2nd, 2013|Discipline, Family life|0 Comments

Pippa Middleton I (might) need you: words I never thought I’d say

August is almost upon us which means BB’s birthday is just weeks away and the party planner of the century [...]

By |July 29th, 2013|Books, Family life, Food, Reviews|0 Comments

The (nappy) bag of my dreams…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a mother in possession of a small child must be in want of a nappy bag. After almost two whole years I am finally in possession of the one I always dreamed of: Cath Kidston’s cowboy changing bag (pictured). Isn’t it beautiful? It’s shiny and red and has pockets and pouches galore and I can’t stop looking at – or stroking – it. Pre BB the £65 price tag for a nappy bag seemed £65 too much, so I settled for a £25 eBay copy in a different pattern instead. I’ve regretted it ever since: given a nappy bag is the only one I ever use – day in, day out – think of the saving I must have made by not buying handbags for two whole years. […]

By |July 24th, 2013|Family life, Fashion, Reviews, Travel|0 Comments

Conversations I’ve overheard at the beach (and wish I hadn’t)

The heatwave continues and you can forget Brits abroad: Brits at home are priceless. Following a week in Spain, the second half of our annual holiday involved a staycation – and what a week to pick! After seven days on the beach here are the top conversations I couldn’t help but overhear: 1) A family spent a good half an hour setting up towels, sun umbrella, dispensing sun lotion and blowing up a lilo before the mother declared ‘right kids, 10 minutes and it’s time to go home to get ready for Jasper’s party’. Why oh why. 2) A father repeatedly telling his daughter to ‘stop moaning’ while complaining loudly and laboriously to his wife about various office politics. I can’t imagine where the daughter gets it from. […]

By |July 22nd, 2013|Family life, Travel, Work life|2 Comments

Top tips for a stress free holiday with the kids

I’m pleased to report we managed to avoid burning the house down following our sojourn in Spain. So here are my top tips for a stress free holiday with the kids (and husband) in tow: 1) Don’t book seats with a budget airline when your other half is more than six foot four inches tall and prone to bouts of bad temperedness. Misery Guts was (happily) filling in a complaints form just 45 minutes into our flight. 2) Go on holiday with as many friends or family members you can muster (and tolerate) in order to be able to relax on a sun lounger (pictured). Many hands make light work. […]

By |July 17th, 2013|Family life, Food, Potty training, Travel|0 Comments

The chances of burning down a Spanish villa?

BB’s passport has arrived, the suitcases are (almost) packed and we’re off on our first foreign holiday à trois. Like Mothering Sunday, I think it’s fair to say it can’t be worse than our last holiday – a week at my parents’ cottage in Dorset. Their 17th Century thatched cottage, which we nearly burnt down. I kid you not: a chimney that hadn’t been swept for a while and the wrong kind of wind culminated in a chimney fire the likes of which their village hadn’t seen for a very long time. Five fire engines – mandatory when dealing with a thatch to ensure there’s enough water on board, apparently – raced to deal with the blazing inferno which was so hot it shone a bright amber and red light in a perfect semi-circle on the living room floor. Plumes of smoke seeped not only from the chimney but the entire thatch, and emitted itself in a perfect line between the seam of our thatch and next door’s. […]

By |July 5th, 2013|Family life, Travel|0 Comments

A family trip to…the London passport office

As if paying twenty quid for free European Health Insurance Cards wasn’t bad enough, a problem with BB’s passport application has meant withdrawing the application, losing the fee, and an impromptu trip to the London passport office to pay twice as much for the same thing. At rush hour. It was the only way to get her passport processed in time for our holiday, and is not a trip I recommend. After traipsing up to London and making it to the office on time, BB decided to unleash a poonami just as we were called up to the counter. A real gooey, leaky stinker. There was nothing I could do about it; we couldn’t miss the appointment. […]

By |June 28th, 2013|Family life, Travel|0 Comments

EHIC cards: don’t get ripped off like me

I am livid. Absolutely seeeeething. We’re off on our hols next week so I duly sent off for our ‘free’ European Health Insurance Cards lest anything untoward should happen. Of course this was just one of many jobs I had to do that day, and I was supervising BB’s tea while trying to make her a doctor’s appointment over the phone at the same time. Which is why, when it came to the end of the online form and asked me for £19.99 for the privilege, I didn’t bat an eyelid. I thought perhaps because it was our first application, or because we’re a family, there’s a charge. Wrong. They are 100%, totally free. Unless you unwittingly stumble upon an NHS lookalike website and are stupid – and distracted – enough to be conned into handing over your hard earned cash. Like me. […]

By |June 27th, 2013|Family life, Travel|0 Comments

All because the baby loves…scampi

I have finally found a cooked fish BB will eat: scampi. With the exception of smoked salmon (she has expensive tastes, like her mother) the little monkey has previously refused to touch any fish. You name it, I’ve tried it: fish pie, fish fillets, fish fingers, salmon fingers, tuna – I really was starting to believe that perhaps she really doesn’t like fish. But rummaging around in the freezer facing the daily ‘what shall we have for tea’ conundrum my eyes fell on a bag of scampi languishing at the back of the freezer drawer. Like marmite, it’s the sort of thing you either love or hate. I picked out four pieces to give it a go. She LOVED it (pictured). […]

By |June 21st, 2013|Family life, Food, Weaning|0 Comments

My nerves are fraying like the hole in our sheet

Why is it that everything breaks at once? First the toaster blew up (it really did: there were flames and everything), then the kettle went. A few days later Misery Guts managed to raze the tip off our most useful kitchen knife (it clearly wasn’t designed for opening oysters – pictured). Then when I was making up our bed at the weekend I realised the white brushed cotton sheet that was part of a wedding present isn’t really white or brushed anymore, and has a hole. A fraying hole. I don’t mind so much about the toaster and the kettle – they were 12 years old – but almost three years into our marriage I’m not so happy about the knife and the bedding. Surely these things should last longer than that? They might be residing in a drawer in their caravan, but my parents still have knives they were given as a wedding present 37 years ago, and I’m fairly certain bedding still exists too. […]

By |June 19th, 2013|Family life|3 Comments

Who needs a mummy anyway?

Owing to an increased workload BB has spent her first full day at nursery. Sending her there for an entire day is something I had thus far managed to avoid thanks to a combination of both grannies and a series of morning sessions instead. But last week there was no getting away from it: we were parted for eight hours. Twice. It’s not that separation anxiety was the reason for half day sessions only, it was more a case of bedroom anxiety. With BB still in need of a nap in the afternoon, the idea of her ‘key worker’ putting her down in one of a line of cots as other tots wail and whimper themselves to sleep fills me with a dread I would rather avoid. Even if it means starting my work when Misery Guts arrives home from his and finishing at silly o’clock, or working at the weekend instead. […]

By |June 17th, 2013|Family life, Work life|0 Comments

If mums went on strike…

Our binmen have gone on strike. It’s only day two and the wheelie bins are already overflowing, and it’s only a matter of time before detritus starts spilling out too. I suppose the binmen (sorry, waste management and disposal technicians – I know, me too), who are facing a pay cut, have no choice but to down tools; theirs is the sort of job that no-one notices gets done until it doesn’t. Like coastguards who drive up and down seafronts every morning checking the life rings haven’t been carted off by someone who’s had one too many. Or mums who wipe drips of food from the kickboards under the kitchen cupboards and clean out the toilet brush holder. […]

By |June 12th, 2013|Family life, News, Work life|0 Comments