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The real meaning of Easter is…?

Feeling slightly guilty following our Easter celebrations. Not I-ate-too-much-chocolate-and-now-regret-it guilt, but what Misery Guts would call my Catholic guilt: the feeling I really ought to have carried out a duty, but didn’t. I don’t mean Easter bunny duties – BB was left in no doubt the Easter bunny had graced us with his (or her) presence. An Easter egg hunt, complete with shiny arrow signs, glossy bunny footprints and printed paper bags to collect the spoils (when did Easter Egg hunts become so sophisticated?) was planned with military precision, and discovering foil wrapped chocolate among the daffodils (pictured) had to be the highlight of her day. But after chocolate cornflake nests were eaten, the hours-old ring of chocolate around her mouth had been wiped away and BB was asleep, bunny ears next to her cot, it suddenly occurred to me the real meaning of Easter had not been mentioned. Once. […]

By |April 1st, 2013|Books, Family life|0 Comments

Who does Gwynnie think she’s kidding?

It’s been niggling at me all week, and it’s no use, there’s nothing for it but to have a good rant. I’m talking about Gwyneth Paltrow and the promotion of her latest cook book, which reveals her kids live on a gluten free, low carb, low sugar diet. That’s right, no wheat. No bread, no pasta, no rice, no ice cream, no chocolate and no cow’s milk.Apparently they eat raw fennel as a snack, kale chips instead of crisps and carob bars instead of chocolate. Lucky them.But it’s not what she is (or isn’t) feeding them, the poor souls, that bothers me – it’s the way her lifestyle is portrayed as ‘right’ and the implied pressure that puts on everyone else. One particular newspaper printed the recipe for ‘Gwyneth’s breakfast smoothie’, ingredients of which include half an avocado, half a courgette, chia seeds, flax seeds, dark fruit concentrate, almond butter, etc, etc. […]

By |March 29th, 2013|Family life, Food|4 Comments

Let’s get ready to rhumble…again!

It looks like a minor victory is about to be won. Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble is set to become the UK’s number one single this Sunday – 19 years after Ant and Dec, aka PJ & Duncan, first released it. This is the sort of thing (my) dreams are made of. The song only made number nine in the charts the first time round – when did Ant and Dec suddenly become so cool? They certainly weren’t cool in my neck of the woods in 1994. The only teeny boppers in our school, my partner in crime and I were routinely ridiculed for our love of PJ & Duncan and, mainly, Take That. To be fair, we didn’t help ourselves. All of our pocket money was spent on concert tickets and haring around the country in pursuit of our idols, with some interesting results. Sitting on Robbie Williams’ lap, aged 17, in the passenger seat of my aforementioned partner in crime’s Ford Fiesta has to be the highlight, although there were lows. Like standing outside the Top Of The Pops studio in the pouring rain for a glimpse of I can’t remember who, only to get a glimpse of Ian Beale from EastEnders instead, the set of which was at the same studio. […]

By |March 27th, 2013|Family life, Music, News|2 Comments

Oops…I’ve been Outlooked

Unless you’ve been on another planet for the last six months, or are otherwise engaged in the fug of new motherhood, which, let’s face it, is like living on another planet, you’ve probably heard that Microsoft has been automatically ‘upgrading’ Hotmail users to its new Outlook programme. Whether you like it or not. I’ve finally been Outlooked, and while I can see the benefits, there is one slightly alarming feature: a profile image of the email sender now appears next to their name. This is all well and good, in theory, however said image is programmed to be taken from your social networking sites, meaning if you’ve (unwittingly) saved a picture of yourself on Twitter or Facebook, it will automatically appear next to your name when you send an email. I’m not sure whether a picture of me peering out at my recipients through my plastic framed glasses with an ‘is this webcam working’ expression on my face (pictured) is a good idea or not. If I’m sending an email to my mum its harmless enough, but a managing director I need to interview for a story?  Presumably I could disable the function, if I knew how. This is continuing to trouble me, but in the meantime it’s an endless source of fascination and entertainment. I’ve finally got to see the faces behind the emails of people I’ve been communicating with for ages, but have never met, and of course no-one looks like one had imagined. And the pictures popping up range from the boring to the deranged to the frankly pornographic. Does the PR girl from one particular agency I deal with realise what appears to be a picture of her having had one too many while wearing a very short skirt on holiday in Torremolinos now pings up alongside her professional emails? […]

By |March 25th, 2013|Family life, News, Work life|0 Comments

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

I usually steer clear of dipping my toe into the subject of politics, and I may well regret it, but on this occasion I can’t resist. I have to say I was delighted to hear Nick Clegg getting a rollicking from an angry mummy on his live weekly radio phone-in yesterday. The stay at home mum, known only as Laura from East Dulwich, was calling in response to the government’s budget announcement that families with one earner bringing home more than £50,000 a year will lose their child benefit, but extra help with nursery costs will be offered to families where both parents work, bringing home up to £300,000. ‘You probably think what I do is a worthless job’, she told a flustered Clegg. ‘Child benefit was a fair way of recognising everybody’s legitimate choice either to work outside the home or to work inside the home. You’ve essentially abolished that for families like me.’ I couldn’t have put it better myself, and hats off to her. I’m not knocking the extra help with childcare costs – I know as well as anyone the fees can be crippling – but the proposal seems incredibly unfair and weighted against women – and men – who choose to stay at home and raise their children. At what point did this not become work? […]

By |March 22nd, 2013|Family life, News, Work life|2 Comments

Batch cooking: a licence for smugness

I have discovered the secret to feeling like the best mummy in the world, even if it’s just for half an hour: batch cooking. Pictured (left) is the product of yesterday afternoon’s endeavours – half a dozen handmade miniature Shepherd’s Pies, each in their own little tin and each with their own little label. There’s something about cooking for BB which seems more important than cooking for anyone else, even (diabetic) Misery Guts and even though she is likely to be the least grateful. Have I cut the carrots as neatly as possible? Check. Have I made sure the cheese isn’t spilling over the side of the tin? Check. Does this dish offer the right balance of protein and carbohydrate? Check. Is omega 3/some other form of fatty acid/at least one of her five-a-day present? Check. […]

By |March 20th, 2013|Family life, Food, Health|5 Comments

Please vote for us!

I am taking the plunge. Three months after joining the growing ranks of mummy bloggers, it’s time to up the ante and try to put Confessions of a Crummy Mummy on the cyberspace map. How? By entering my first parent blogger awards – Brit Mums Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2013. This is a daunting prospect – there are so many brilliant, well established mummy and daddy bloggers out there with so many accreditations, awards and followers under their belts it’s eye watering. But I know I can achieve that too, so I’m putting Confessions of a Crummy Mummy forward for three categories: best fresh voice; recognising new bloggers, best writer; recognising great content, and best lifestyle blog; for bloggers who share the ins and outs of family life in a witty and entertaining way. The thing is, I need your help. If you liked reading about why my child is one of the fussiest eaters in Europe, why I’m worried giving up breast feeding will psychologically damage one of our cats and the latest antics of Misery Guts, or generally like following the latest goings on in the lives of BB and I, please vote for us. It’s really easy – just click on one or (preferably) all of the badges on the right hand side of this post. […]

By |March 18th, 2013|Breast feeding, Cats, Family life, News|0 Comments

Saying no is harder than I thought

Given that BB is 19 months old today, I thought I’d update you on how weaning her off the boob is going. The short answer is: it’s not. I’ve given up giving up breast feeding. It was going fairly well when I last reported back, fairly well ish anyway, in that I was making a concerted effort to stop, but it’s the effort part that’s the problem. I haven’t got the energy to make the effort – there’s too much else going on and it’s simply too easy to feed her. And I get to have a sit down. […]

By |March 15th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life|2 Comments

Bad hair day or the coolest kid in town?

Check this out. This is the sight that greeted me when BB woke up from her afternoon nap (left). I cannot fathom how she managed to whip up such a hairdo in under one hour – my only guess is that she must have been continually grinding her head into the mattress the entire time. It’s hard to describe the amazingness of the creation – there were at least five individual sub-knots interspersed with corkscrews of hair firing out at all angles, all combined into one giant knot. When I’d finally stopped laughing I set about trying to brush it out (we needed to go to Tesco). Which only made it worse. Much worse. Then I did that thing I vowed I’d never do: I licked my fingers and tried to smooth it down. […]

By |March 13th, 2013|Beauty, Family life, Fashion|0 Comments

Oh baby: stranded in a snow drift on the M23 southbound

BB had her first proper adventure last night: stuck in the back of the car in a snow drift on the M23. For eight hours. It sounds incredible; impossible even, but that’s where we spent yesterday evening, along with the world and his wife. I’m not quite sure where the snow came from – well, obviously it came from the sky – but it came down so quickly and in such volumes that chaos ensued within minutes. That will teach me. After failing to check the weather forecast and driving from Sussex to Surrey to be ladies that lunch in blissful ignorance of the snow clouds gathering, BB and I duly arrived to pick Misery Guts up from work in creepy Crawley on our way back. Big mistake. […]

By |March 12th, 2013|Family life, Food, News|6 Comments

Mothering Sunday: the smoke was incredible

As promised, here follows my report on this year’s Mothering Sunday after last year’s non-event. Or Mothering Weekend, as it turned out, to make up for last year. That’s right, a whole glorious weekend off! I’m not sure whose nerves are more frayed: mine or Misery Guts. Who really lived up to his name. The high points were this: 1) No cooking. Beer battered cod for tea on Friday; pancakes with bacon and maple syrup for brunch on Sunday, I was not to enter the kitchen. 2) Two lie ins. Two. 3) Not having any involvement in a poonami for which the only remedy was a bath. Priceless. 4) Tea and cake in one of my favourite cafés (pictured). Of course, with high points come low points… 1) Misery Guts halved everything in the beer battered fish recipe except the beer. Meaning the batter wouldn’t stick to the fish. It did a great job of sticking to everything else though, including the biscuit tin and the toaster. […]

By |March 11th, 2013|Family life, Food|2 Comments

Mother’s Day or Migraine Day?

Mother’s Day is nearly upon us. Or Migraine Day as it is known is our house. Last year Mothering Sunday was my first as a mother, and I looked forward to it with the anticipation of a child before their birthday. Could I really lie in until 10 o’clock? What a treat! Would I get breakfast in bed? Would we go out for lunch? What would we do in the afternoon? Would cake be involved? Could it really be true that I wouldn’t have to do any cleaning for a whole day? The possibilities were endless. None of the above was true, as it turned out. Misery Guts woke up with the start of one of his migraines, which tends to happen every couple of years. He promptly threw up all over the bathroom, and I mean all over. The sink, the toilet, the side of the bath, the floor, the scales: it was everywhere. […]

By |March 8th, 2013|Family life, Health|2 Comments

Military boot camp. Bring. It. On.

Now that my baby’s no longer a baby, and is starting to sleep through the night (I’m afraid to even write it, let alone say it out loud, for fear of relapse) there’s no longer any excuse to use new motherhood as a reason for not getting fit. Getting fit might be a slight exaggeration – I am already fairly fit, but nothing like I was BBB (before BB). BBB I spent several hours a week in the gym on all manner of fancy equipment, but I haven’t set foot in the place since and as a result am rather soft around the edges. So this week I took the bull by the horns and signed up to a taster session of British Military Fitness, aka boot camp style fitness classes run by former or serving members of the military. It seemed the perfect solution: held on the sea front where I live it offers a chance to make the most of the beach, as I pledged to do when we moved here four months ago, plus intensive training packed into a one hour class before Misery Guts leaves for the office. Just the ticket. Oh. My. Goodness. […]

By |March 6th, 2013|Exercise, Family life, Health|0 Comments

My baby’s no longer a baby because…

She’s just gone to bed in her first pair of pyjamas (left). Pyjamas! It’s a milestone up there with buying her first toothbrush and taking her for her first proper haircut. There’s no getting away from it now: all traces of babyness are disappearing. Fast. Of course I brought the pyjama landmark on myself, seduced by the cutest pair in Mothercare this afternoon. So cute I just had to buy them. Now she is in them and sleeping soundly, I’m feeling slightly weepy and nostalgic for the days when nothing but a sleep suit with feet would do, all cosy inside her grow bag as I nursed her. […]

By |March 4th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Fashion|0 Comments

Conversations I’ve overheard this week (and wish I hadn’t)

Being a freelance journalist means I can often be found hunched in the corner of various high street coffee shops tapping away at my trusty laptop. These are fascinating places, and the things you (over) hear are incredible. It’s not that I’m purposely listening out for other people’s conversations; they are often so loud one cannot help but overhear.This is what I’ve heard this week:1) A woman spent four hours – yes four hours – on the phone to a travel agency working out how she could get from Kuala Lumpa to Kolkata in the fastest possible time. If I hear the word Kuala Lumpa again this week I will scream. She must have said it at least 30 times, and in the time it took her to sort out her flights she could have been a third of the way there. […]

By |March 1st, 2013|Family life, Food, Work life|0 Comments