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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

I’ve got the whole world in my hands

So you may (or may not) be surprised to hear we made it back from Scotland unscathed. I say unscathed – we were both nursing the kind of hangovers we haven’t had since BBB (before BB) – but apart from that we managed to make it home in one piece. And you may (or may not) be surprised to hear that two whole days and nights away from BB weren’t that bad after all. Walks one would never entertain with a pushchair, tops one would never wear while breast feeding, afternoon naps, leisurely baths before going out to dinner, sipping numerous wines and spirits into the wee hours without being under the glare of the baby monitor: I could get quite used to it. […]

By |May 6th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Travel|0 Comments

Don’t think: the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given

My Granny once told me that if she ever wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the loo, she repeats the words ‘don’t think, don’t think, don’t think, don’t think’ over and over again in her head until she’s been to the toilet and back because, she told me sagely, ‘if you start thinking, you’ll never get back to sleep.’ This is probably one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given. Ever since she imbibed this little pearl of wisdom years ago I’ve used it, and it works a treat. I have no doubt following this ritual has saved me from much tossing and turning and many sleepless nights. That is, it worked a treat until this week. In a few hours I will get on a plane and stay away for two nights without BB. The horrors that could unfold have been plaguing me all week (what if the plane crashes, what if BB thinks we’ve abandoned her and is scarred for life, etc, etc) and the possibilities have been even worse in the small hours. […]

By |May 3rd, 2013|Family life, Travel|0 Comments