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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

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

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

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

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