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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

A penny for your thoughts…

If I had a penny for every time I’ve wondered what BB is thinking, I’d be able to buy a new pair of Jimmy Choos by now. And maybe even a matching bag. Here she is (pictured) in the paddling pool at granny and grandpa’s house this weekend, the master of all she surveys. What on earth was she thinking? Is it even possible to ‘think’ when one hasn’t mastered a language yet? And was she in fact feeling, rather than conducting an internal monologue about the sights and smells around her? I’d love to know. Apparently a child has around 100 billion brain cells at birth, and around 50 trillion synaps connecting those cells. By eight months this has increased to 1,000 trillion synaps, but by the age of 20 the number of synaps has decreased to 500 trillion. So you could say she’s in her prime. Unlike me, and probably you, which is alarming stuff. […]

By |June 10th, 2013|Family life, Health|0 Comments

Want to cut down on housework? Move somewhere hot

I’ve cracked it. I’ve worked out how to halve the amount of laundry there is to do, slash the number of times a high chair needs to be cleaned and I’ve ruled out the need to put away toys altogether. It’s simple: move somewhere hot. This week, as we have basked in temperatures of 20 degrees plus, BB and I have been outside for the majority of the day every day. As a result she has worn just one item of clothing a day, dramatically reducing the number of times the washing machine needs to go on; eaten her lunch outside every day, meaning the high chair hasn’t been out in the day at all; and her toys have remained untouched, neatly stacked where I left them on Sunday night. […]

By |June 7th, 2013|Family life, Travel|0 Comments

Mums-to-be: a bunch of reckless, risk taking half-wits

It’s official: all mums-to-be should hermetically seal themselves in a sterile bubble for the entire duration of their pregnancy. According to advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists today, pregnant women should avoid eating or drinking anything from cans or plastic containers, minimise their use of cosmetics and moisturiser and not buy any new furniture to avoid exposure to certain chemicals. It’s a wonder the human race has survived at all. The paper stupidly suggests women take a ‘safety first’ approach – implying mums-to-be are all a bunch of reckless, risk taking half-wits. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything so ludicrous. […]

By |June 5th, 2013|Beauty, Family life, Health, News|2 Comments

The key to domestic bliss? Someone please enlighten me….

Another weekend, another round of household chores to be done. And another round of ‘words’ between Misery Guts and myself. We have been living together for 10 years – married for almost three – yet for a reason that remains a mystery we are incapable of carrying out the household chores without falling out at some point along the way. I accept that when two people with different standards of cleanliness live under one roof a degree of compromise is needed: I need to compromise down and accept that it’s ok for the bathroom taps not to be sparkling all of the time, and he needs to compromise up and accept that it’s not ok for the bedding to remain unchanged for weeks on end. I also accept that as I’m at home more often than he is, I’m likely to carry out more of these tasks. But what I don’t accept is that when two people contribute equally to the running of a household in financial terms, one should contribute more to the running of that household in chore terms. […]

By |June 3rd, 2013|Family life, Work life|3 Comments

Go Myleene, that’s what I say

Poor Myleene Klass. As if your husband walking out on you after 6 months of marriage wasn’t bad enough, the singer cum TV presenter cum model is now being accused of attention seeking by revealing she encouraged family and friends to taste her breast milk. Whether she was courting attention or not – isn’t that the job of a sleb? – I don’t see why she’s come under such fire. How is drinking milk produced from a fellow human’s nipple any ‘weirder’ than drinking milk produced from a cow’s udder? At least it’s from the same species. And I don’t buy the public ‘outcry’ either. I think there’s a lot of ye doth protest too much going on. According to a study published in the Sunday Times in 2005, researchers found that one third of fathers had tasted their other half’s breast milk, and it was ‘fairly common’ for the dads to drink it not just once, but often. […]

By |May 31st, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Health|0 Comments