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Just call me the cake fairy

The venue has been booked, the invitations have been sent and with BB’s 2nd birthday just around the corner it’s time to turn my attention to the most important task of all: her birthday cake. Here is last year’s effort (pictured), In The Night Garden eat your heart out, which I have to say went down a treat even if I do say so myself. The trouble is I’ve set the bar now, which means I’ve got to come up with something equally creative this year. Which is easier said than done, as this time last year BB was happy to jump around in her door bouncer as I painstakingly fashioned Makka Pakka’s tail out of fondant icing and secured Upsy Daisy’s hair with edible glue. Misery Guts suggested we ask someone else to make one given I’m no longer on maternity leave and have zero time on my hands, but I’m afraid this is akin to a cardinal sin where I come from: birthday cakes have always been (handmade) by mum, with as much effort as one can muster. So there’ll be no outsourcing here. […]

By |August 7th, 2013|Family life, Food|3 Comments

Pippa Middleton I (might) need you: words I never thought I’d say

August is almost upon us which means BB’s birthday is just weeks away and the party planner of the century [...]

By |July 29th, 2013|Books, Family life, Food, Reviews|0 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

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

It’s no use crying over spilt milk

Who thought giving up breast feeding would be so hard? Not me. I thought, if you let things roll, that babies just ‘gave up’ or grew out of it of their own accord. Silly me. I don’t think BB will ever grow out of it if left to her own devices. So after two days in which no breast milk was consumed owing to the fact Misery Guts and I were away, giving up breast feeding has (once again) started in earnest. Having read absolutely nothing on the matter or furnished myself with any kind advice, in a bid to avoid the dreaded mastitis or engorgement we’re going for a week of bed time feeds only, followed by a week of dropping those too. Is this the right way to go about it? Is this approach too hasty? Will it work? I haven’t the faintest. […]

By |May 8th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Food, Weaning|2 Comments

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

Is there no limit to what people will openly discuss in public places? It would appear coffee shops, where regular followers will know I can often be found bashing out a story or two when I’ve swapped my mummy hat for my journalist one, are now the place to conduct business. Apart from failing to give anyone involved any privacy, I don’t think I’ve ever come across anything more unprofessional than discussing the inner workings of a company or individual next to yummy mummies sipping their skinny lattes or journalists on the hunt for story ideas (aka moi). These are (just some) of the exchanges I’ve been unable to avoid overhearing this week: 1) A testosterone battle between one suited man and his colleague, one of whom had flown to their coffee shop meeting (in Sussex) from Liverpool. After outlining the agenda of their meeting – how best to bid for funding for the charitable trust they worked for – they then spent more than an hour criticising each other’s decision making skills. Not very charitable. And surely this could have been done over the phone? I still can’t help but wonder how much the flight cost the poor charity. 2) An interview for a new coffee shop manager. It transpired the existing senior barista wanted the job, but the man from head office conducting the interview told the applicant he didn’t think this chap was ‘quite suitable’. I’m not sure if they’ve told the poor guy yet – when I ordered my cup of tea this morning he’s still being super helpful and friendlier than usual, although I’m not complaining. But something’s not right when the customers are one step ahead of the staff. […]

By |April 18th, 2013|Family life, Food, Work life|0 Comments

The hoarder next door: yep that’s me

Two weeks after committing (online) Tesco suicide, things are going swimmingly with Asda. Not only does the weekly shop now arrive on time and in date, it is cheaper and so far has come with one of my favourite things in the whole wide world: free samples. These appeal to me on a number of levels: 1) They’re free 2) They come in the cutest, minniest sizes you’ve ever seen. Think Honey I Shrunk The Pantene 3) They are trussed up in equally miniature bags, often featuring a bow This is the little stash (pictured) which arrived this week: eight tubes of Colgate toothpaste and five sachets of stir fry sauce. Of course they can’t possibly be used. Because they might come in handy one day. Like the miniature pots of Sudocrem, the tiny tubes of Johnson’s and a hessian pouch of cotton wool balls that came in the hospital bounty pack when I had BB. All of which are in the drawer under her cot, still in the little bags they came in. […]

By |April 16th, 2013|Family life, Food|2 Comments

The joy of…chocolate

I think the picture speaks for itself...

By |April 5th, 2013|Family life, Food|0 Comments

I’ve finally committed Tesco suicide

I’ve committed Tesco suicide. That is, online Tesco suicide (vowing never to shop at any Tesco, ever again, is likely to inconvenience me far more than it will inconvenience them). The action comes after our home shop was late for the second time in a row, the third time in a month and the fifth time this year. I don’t just mean 10 minutes late; I mean three hours late. Of course things happen: first the delivery van was in an accident. Then it broke down. Twice. Then it never arrived at all thanks to the snow, and after being trapped on the M23 for eight hours in blizzard conditions I’ll give them that. Then the delivery driver fell down a flight of stairs. All I can deduce from this list of excuses is this: we must have the most hapless delivery drivers in Christendom. This ‘service’ incenses me beyond belief. What is the point of offering a one hour delivery slot if you can deliver the groceries at any other time except the allotted – and paid for – time? Why run such a service without a contingency plan for when things break down or said hapless driver finds him (or her, but highly unlikely) self in an accident? Why only text to tell your customer their order will be late half an hour into their delivery slot, when you must have known hours ago? And why not offer to refund the delivery charge? Anyone other than a supermarket giant would have gone out of business, and deservedly so. […]

By |April 3rd, 2013|Family life, Food, Uncategorized|6 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

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

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 Gu