Our big allotment challenge! (with a little help from Aldi)

After 14 months on the waiting list we finally have an allotment (pictured). I was surprised at how quickly it [...]

Purifyne Cleanse review: an internal makeover for your body

Cold pressed, ready to drink fresh detox juice delivered straight to your door. Doesn’t that sound fantastic? There’s never been [...]

Bedside cribs: a ‘safe’ co-sleeping solution?

At just six weeks old Little B has outgrown the moses basket. Not that he slept in it much anyway, preferring to sleep in our bed spread-eagled between us. But while this would send him into a deep, peaceful sleep, it of course meant I slept terribly, worried one of us would roll onto him, accidently pull the duvet over him or that he would shimmy himself against one of the pillows in his sleep. The health visitor advised putting him on my side of the bed rather than between us because as his mum I naturally sleep more lightly, but that’s hardly a long-term solution for the next few months when he’s too small to go into a cot in his own bedroom. So, after a bit of research, I think I’ve come up with the answer: a bedside crib (pictured). There are lots on the market, some as much as a couple of hundred pounds, but we went for the cheapest, Chicco’s Next2Me (£149.99), given he will have outgrown it by six months old. Even Misery Guts, who was predictably sceptical about buying yet more paraphernalia, admits it’s a nifty bit of kit. (You can hire other brands through the NCT, but the waiting list was until the middle of January, so not much help). […]

Phil & Ted’s Dot double buggy review: walking is getting rather tricky

I thought the three year age gap between BB and Little B would eliminate the need for a double buggy. I was wrong. Although BB will quite happily walk the couple of miles to Tesco and back, anything further and she (quite rightly) starts complaining, which given that we don’t have the car during the week and go everywhere on foot is making life rather tricky. So when MadeForMums asked me to review Phil & Ted’s latest Dot double buggy (pictured), I jumped at the chance. The double-decker style forward-facing Dot is designed to hold two children from birth to five years old, with the younger on the bottom and the older on the top. Marketed as Phil & Ted’s ‘most compact’ double pushchair to date, its 59cm wide slimline design makes it no wider than a standard stroller. And with a seat height of 65cms the Dot boasts one of the tallest seats on the market, although the main seat is rather snug and I would say there’s only limited growing room left. I’d be surprised if BB would fit into it when she’s five. […]

Days out in East Sussex: Drusillas Park

With the weather hotting up we’ve been making a concerted effort to explore the often-overlooked attractions right on our doorstep [...]

By |June 18th, 2014|Family days out, Family life, Money, Parenting, Reviews, Travel|4 Comments

Rushing about with class bears and cameras: we’re all at it

We’re back. A week of lounging, swimming, eating and sleeping in Portugal (Timmy the class bear included, pictured) has done the trick: Misery Guts is (temporarily) less miserable, I’m (temporarily) less tired and BB is bursting with memories of ice cream licking and swimming pool splashing. The addition of Timmy to our party has certainly caused a stir among Mumsnetters. After my last post about class teddy bears having a lot to answer for – and letting the side down in spite of myself by taking the damn thing on holiday to snap in various enviable locations – featured as Mumsnet’s blog of the day, the Twitterati went mad. It seems we’re all at it – rushing around with kids, class mascots and cameras in tow in a bid to illustrate action-packed accounts of the bear’s stay at our house at a day’s notice. It’s like having homework all over again. Needless to say I haven’t actually written up Timmy’s diary entry or printed out the pictures yet – like homework, it’s still hanging over me to do. […]

By |May 28th, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Parenting, Reviews, Travel|0 Comments

Timmy the class bear has a lot to answer for…

BB came home from nursery armed with a new friend this week: Timothy the class bear. He comes complete with a (daunting) looking diary in which we’re supposed to catalogue his stay at our house for the benefit of the other children, preferably with pictures. After reading the previous entry I quickly realised it’s not the other children we’ve got to impress worry about. It’s the parents. According to a story in one of the newspapers this week ‘class wars’ and ‘social divide’ have been sparked by take-home teddies such as Timmy, prompting pushy parents to snap into ‘competitive, aggressive survival mode’. Crikey. Mums featured in the story unwittingly discovered the class bear had been living the high life in Greece and Hawaii and even climbed Mount Everest, while others were pictured lying on sun loungers and in sports cars. Gulp. Where’s my Apache-pilot brother when you need him? Timmy behind the controls of a helicopter would score extra brownie points, surely. […]

By |May 16th, 2014|Family life, Parenting, Travel|1 Comment

‘I’ve bought cheaper second hand cars than this pushchair’

At £450, I’ve bought cheaper second hand cars than Quinny’s latest Buzz pushchair, which parenting website Made For Mums has asked me to put through its paces and review for all the newbies out there. I thought I’d share my (highly scientific) findings with you too, in case you’re also in the market for a set of (mummy-powered) wheels. It might be pricey, but if trips out are going to involve a pushchair from now on, my advice is this: you might as well invest in one that’s going to see you through from birth. This one comes with everything you need to get started: the pushchair itself, a from-birth inlay, adaptors for a Maxi Cosi car seat or Quinny carry cot, a shopping basket that will comfortably hold two bags of supermarket shopping (pictured), a rain cover and a sun canopy. Oh, and a parasol clip. […]

By |May 12th, 2014|Exercise, Family life, Parenting, Reviews, Travel|2 Comments

A spring walk in the bluebells: Butcher’s Wood, West Sussex

If you're looking for the perfect place see spring time bluebells in all their glory I've got just the spot: Butcher’s [...]

Dads on skateboards: no, no, no, no, NO!

Forget scooters. There’s a new scourge of the pavements round our way: dads on skateboards. And not just 20-something dads: [...]

By |May 2nd, 2014|Exercise, Family life, Fashion, Parenting, Travel|2 Comments

Spring days out in Dorset: head for Farmer Palmer’s

Bottle feeding a lamb has got to be a rite of passage when growing up and determined that BB shouldn't miss [...]

By |March 10th, 2014|Family days out, Family life, Money, Parenting, Reviews, Travel|4 Comments

‘Mummy and daddy gone onna mini break’

This is what BB has been telling anyone who’ll listen following our night away at Foxhills Hotel & Spa in Surrey at the weekend. ‘Mini break’ sounds so extravagant and self-indulgent, and I suppose it was (pictured). Luxurious rooms with king-size beds, a king-size bath (even Misery Guts, who’s 6ft 4, could lie down in it) and a health spa complete with a 20m pool with vaulted ceilings and ‘mood lighting’ all promised and delivered a restorative 24 hours away from being mummy and daddy. And all despite my reservations that the trip was going to go pear shaped when Misery Guts demanded 10% off the bill before we’d even left the house because the hotel’s restaurant was closed (a fact they failed to tell us when making the booking) even though we had never planned to eat there in the first place. […]

By |February 12th, 2014|Beauty, Exercise, Family life, Health, Parenting, Reviews, Travel|2 Comments

Is it ok for two-year-olds to have TV viewing habits?

Misery Guts and I are off to a hotel & spa leaving BB in the capable hands of my sister this weekend (and by the sounds of the weather forecast we couldn’t have picked a better time). It’s the first time we’ve left her overnight with anyone other than grandparents, and only the second time we’ve been away on our own without her. As a result I’ve been busy preparing instructions, like a sticky label with the numbers of all her favourite channels next to the TV (pictured). I’m not sure what this says about us as parents. First and foremost is number 71, CBeebies, which promises to get anyone in charge of a small child safely through the day, especially when it’s raining. But as soon as the opening tea-time credits of In The Night Garden appear BB shrieks, which I suspect is less about having grown out of Upsy Daisy, and more about knowing bedtime is looming. So we switch over to number 70, CBBC, where BB loves Tracy Beaker (spoilt brat in a care home – if you’ve never seen it, lucky you) after which she demands ‘the racing cars’, by which she means Top Gear on Dave. The only deviation from this viewing schedule is on Saturdays, when You’ve Been Framed can be found on ITV2. […]

By |February 7th, 2014|Discipline, Family life, Parenting, Travel|4 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

Dreaming of a…German Christmas market

There’s nothing like a German Christmas market to get you in the festive spirit. I don’t mean a German Christmas market in England, I mean a proper one. In Germany. BB and I spent last weekend sampling the best West Germany has to offer, namely in the city of Trier and the cobbled streets of Bernkastel-Kues (pictured). I saw it as a bit of a rite of passage for her: as a forces child I spent a number of formative years living in Germany, and the Christmas markets of Trier and Bernkastel are a lasting childhood memory I’d like her to have too. We’re talking wooden huts quite literally decked with boughs of holly, sausages sizzling in great big pans and the unmistakable smell of mulled wine and sugared almonds wafting through the streets. We weren’t sent on the trip for the purposes of review, I just thought you’d like to know about it because there’s still time to hop on a plane and sample it for yourselves. […]

By |December 13th, 2013|Family days out, Food, Reviews, Travel, Uncategorized|2 Comments