Sunday, 19 December 2010

A little bit of Silliness

It may be snowing outside.

I may still be in my pyjamas at 2.30 in the afternoon.

(Having not done one tiny piece of Christmas shopping).

And my husband may even be stuck in Poland and might possibly not make it home in time for Christmas.

But I'm not phased by any of it.

Oh no. Not I.

Because I have two children to keep me entertained. Believe me, this has gone on since the early hours...

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Happy Birthday big girl

To THE most beautiful girl in the world...

(Cut me some slack - I am her Mother).

Happy Birthday little one.

Four years ago today we met for the very first time.

It was just before three o'clock in the morning, 12 days after you were due to arrive and I have to say, it was about bloody time. Not least because we were moving house two weeks later.

I'm sorry if the first noises you heard from me weren't exactly comforting, but you did have rather large shoulders, even then, and gutteral screams were all I could manage. It wasn't your fault sweetie. I think it was more likely the resulting stitches which caused the agony.

When I look at you now I truly do think you're the most beautiful creature in the whole world. You AND your sister of course *cough*. She'd never forgive me.

But four years ago I couldn't have said the same thing. I can't lie. Your face was more than a little squashed, rather angry, and a funny shade of purple. And that rather unsavoury goo you were covered with? Well, let's just say, it did occur to me at the time how lucky I was that I wasn't a lion or a sheep or else I would have had to lick you clean.


But a lot can happen in four years.

And I'm pleased to say that you've had a few baths since then.

It's been a good year being three hasn't it? In fact I know the tantrum you threw last night was only because you were sad to say goodbye to three, wasn't it?

But four is good. At least that's what your sister says. I don't think I can remember that far back.

She says that you'll learn to ride your bike this year because that's what she did. And maybe, just maybe, you'll learn to write your name too. Your mastery of the letter E is certainly coming along nicely.

I can't wait to see what this year holds for you. You're beautiful Edie. You really are. And I'm not just saying that because I'm your Mummy. Your Daddy says it too.

Happy Birthday beautiful.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Toys for a cold and rainy day

My mission for the weekend was to work my way through the ridiculous pile of toys delivered to me by the increasingly amazing and generous ToysRUs.

And just for once I was grateful for storm clouds and freezing temperatures because neither of my girls wanted to leave the house. So if you're looking for something to entertain the troops on a cold and windy day, then look no further.

Now I want you to know that I am always, always honest with my reviews, something which the Hello Kitty Rotator Creator and Skechers Shape-Ups discovered to their dismay. So when I tell you that the following toys were AMAZING, then hopefully you'll know that they really, really were just that. AMAZING.

Sticky Mosaics Unicorns & Ponies.

Why were they amazing? Well if you're a Mother like me who treats five minutes to yourself as a rare and beautiful thing, then this scores maximum points. For near-on two hours*, three girls between the ages of three and six were kept entertained without the need for constant parental intervention.

It was bliss.

For all of us.

I can't say I'll be hanging their, erm 'artwork' on my sitting room wall just yet, but as an exercise in starting and finishing something creative with no mess involved, it was 100% effective.

Similarly, the Sprayza Art Studio, Blendy Pens Medium Art Set and Reeves Painting by Numbers provided a few more hours of entertainment with something creative produced as a result. All four products reviewed come highly recommended by my little, but dedicated band of reviewers.

*And just in case you're interested to know how I spent all that free time, I made a mosaic unicorn myself of course. Well, it looked like such fun!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Pumpkin Designs

Sometimes, just sometimes I like to blow my own trumpet...

And I'd be even more impressed with myself if they hadn't taken 4 hours!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Hello Kitty's a big NO NO

Today I give you our review of the Hello Kitty Rotator Creator.


  • Anything with Hello Kitty in the title is bound to be a hit in this house. (For the review Edie was wearing her Hello Kitty knickers).

  • The cup and stirrer were pink. Always good.


  • Everything else.

  • All too numerous and depressing to re-live.

  • Needless to say I shall be crying over my plaster-splattered carpet and brand-new trousers for a while yet.

But maybe that's just me. Let my children tell you exactly what they thought too. They're always good for a giggle.

So thanks ToyRUs. We love you. We really do. We're just struggling to love the Rotator Creator. Maybe we just need to give it some time...

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Did you like the Baby Alive doll??? Ask the kids...

Since becoming an official ToysRUs 'Toyologist', back in August, I have received an impressive three toy boxes containing a rather hefty amount of toys, especially tailored for my two daughters aged three and six.

I have a lot to thank ToysRUs for.

So how do I thank them?

By completing a grand total of ZERO toy reviews, that's how. I'm sorry ToysRUs, I fear I may have crumbled under the weight of responsibility, not to mention, rather large toy boxes.

However, today I couldn't keep the toys under wraps any longer and the two girls chose their favourite toy out of the 18 for our first review.

Baby Alive Changing Time Baby.

As it says on the box 'I pee and poop'.

Imagine our excitement.

It's been a while since we've seen baby poo in this house.

In fact, not since the incident with the dog.

And then of course there was the, erm, rather large one.

And then the little incident in the car.

And that other incident where I was clearing up chocolate chip cookies. You remember the one.

But don't let me hog the limelight. It's the girls' toy after all. Just click on the video below and let them tell you what they thought.

And just to conclude, after 27 friggin' takes, it may be 'Baby Alive', but Mummy not quite so.

Friday, 17 September 2010

How to deliver an award-winning speech in 10 easy steps

Sorry, did I say award 'winning'?

My mistake.

I meant award 'giving'.

Just a subtle difference.



I am speaking, of course, of presenting the award for the Funniest Blog at the MADs, the extravaganza that everyone is talking about, which took place last Monday at Butlins in Bognor Regis. I'll try not to delay this post with all the details of just how amazing and wonderful Butlins is because I already did that last year at the launch of the Ocean Hotel. And if you're still sniggering at the thought of me singing Butlins' praises, then click HERE and read my post. I guarantee you'll be sniggering no more.

Anyhooo, this post is not about Butlins, as great as it is, or about Sally Whittle, organiser of the MADs, as great as she is, but about me, as great as I am.


So without further ado, I hereby present you with my guide to preparing, writing and delivering THE presentation speech.

  1. Agree three months in advance to present the award.
  2. Think nothing more of it.
  3. Be told, one month in advance that you will need to deliver a speech as well as the award.
  4. Mildly panic, laugh nervously and then think nothing more of it.
  5. With two days to go decide that you're going to ad-lib, free-flow, wing it and of course, be a resounding success.
  6. With one day to go decide that it might be a better idea to at least jot down some notes.
  7. With 12 hours to go, majorly panic, write a speech long enough for ten award ceremonies and go and make a cup of tea while you work out which bits to edit out.
  8. With six hours to go, contact professional speech-writing friend who asks you to e-mail speech over.
  9. With five-and-a-half hours to go, have said speech completely ripped to pieces with comments such as 'it's dull, flat and completely un-funny'.
  10. With four hours to go, google a few parenting jokes, pack your Mum's red dress and hope for the best.

So there you go. And it all seemed so effortless at the time didn't it? Who knew?

Thank you to everyone who laughed at my jokes. Your cheques are in the post.

And of course, a huge congratulations to Slightly South of Sanity who actually won the award, rather than just presented it, meaning that she is much funnier than me and you ought to check out her blog rather than mine.

Until next time x

Friday, 10 September 2010

Laughing out loud - it's good for you

This morning I laughed out loud.

In a coffee shop.

People may even have turned to look.

Part of me wanted to share with them exactly what had made me laugh so loudly, because, d'you know what? It was such a wonderful feeling. Laughing out loud. That sudden, taken by surprise exhalation. No wonder there's such a thing as laughter therapy. The amount of endorphins I must have released would be enough to keep the whole of Brighton happy for a year.

I wanted to stand up and read the article to all those who would listen*. I wanted them to laugh as well. I wanted us all to laugh together. But I didn't think that the middle-aged lady sipping her Chai Tea Latté (I'd been in the queue behind her when she'd ordered) would appreciate Frank Skinner's take on Wayne Rooney's dalliance with a prostitute. But then again, I may have been wrong. It was extremely funny.

So instead I re-read the article, needing to replicate that feeling. The laugh out loud didn't come, obviously, seeing as I had completely taken away any element of surprise, but I smiled nonetheless, happy with the knowledge that I had, albeit for a milisecond, felt on top of the world.

And it got me thinking about what I've been missing this past year because you may or may not have noticed that I have been the world's worst blogger. Not only has my output been shameful, but I've also read a whole lot less than I used to. And I miss it. I miss the poignant posts, the heartfelt ones, the beautifully written ones and the engaging ones, but most of all I miss the funny ones. I miss the ones that make me laugh out loud and spit my PG Tips or my Sauvignon Blanc, depending on the time of the day, all over my keyboard.

However, and this post does have a point...somewhere, I aim to change all that. I aim to laugh every day and if that means blogging more and reading more, then so be it. And by way of celebration, I will be attending the MADs on Monday. And, get this, I will also be presenting an award. Guess what for? The funniest blog. I do so love it when a post comes together.

If you're also going to the MADs, do please come and say hello. I look forward to laughing out loud with you.

*And in fact I wanted to share the article with you too, but The Times wanted to charge me £1 a month to subscribe and I just couldn't do it. So you'll just have to take my word for it. Or go out and buy The Times.

Monday, 12 July 2010

A little bit on prejudice and crawly creatures

Prejudice - "A preconceived belief, opinion or judgement made without recourse to reason...most commonly used to refer to a preconceived judgement towards a people or a person because of race, social class, gender, ethnicity, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics..." Wikipedia.

We all know that prejudices have existed since, well, rather a long way back. I mean, who knew that the Good Samaritan would have been, so, erm, 'good'? He sent shockwaves right through the New Testament, so much so that five-year-old children are still making plays about him now.

What concerns me though is that 2000 years later, we are no nearer to a lack of judgement, tolerance or grace in our everyday lives.

Do let me give you a little example.

On Saturday my husband and I took the two children to a birthday party. It was in a soft-play area where children not associated with the party were also allowed to play.

As we watched Renée and Edie frolicking with an older girl, my husband, who, it should be known, is the world's biggest snob (when asked whether he would have been attracted to me had I been christened Sharon or Tracey* rather than Emily, he simply smiled and said "well it would have been a lot harder"), turned to me and whispered,

"Ew, look at that girl. She's all dirty. And I bet she's got nits as well."

It has to be said, I may have laughed. But I may also have said something along the lines of,

"You can't say that. Don't be such a bloody snob. She's no more likely to have nits in her hair than any other child here."

And that, I thought, was that.

Except, of course, it wasn't.

Cut to the very next morning and Renée just so happens to scratch her head...

Rather too many times for me not to go a foraging in her hair. And what do I find? A whole host of tiny little blood-sucking parasites.

I think my husband was rather too smug for my liking.

You see, the problem with bloody prejudice is that on occasion our original assumption turns out to be correct, thus reinforcing whatever prejudices we may have had.

I give up. At least on the bit where I try to persuade my husband to stop being such a snob.

But having spent all day yesterday picking the little suckers out of both my children's hair, I may just give up on the Mothering front too.

*Absolutely no offence meant if your name just so happens to be Sharon or Tracey. But don't expect my husband ever to fancy you.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


My Granny died today.

I'm not sure how else to start a post like this, except that way.

She died. She fell down the stairs, broke her hip and wasn't found for more than 24 hours, by which time her kidneys had been damaged due to dehydration. When the doctors operated on her, she was too weak to make it through.

She was 85.

When I told Renée, she was sad because she said it meant Nanny wouldn't get her letter from the Queen, not that the Queen even sends letters anymore, but Renée seemed to think she did.

No, she won't get her letter from the Queen.

Renée also said that there'll be no more sticky jellybeans covered in fluff and hair from her pocket. She's right. There'll be no more of those.

I feel bereft. It was a struggle to put the girls to bed. A struggle to hold it together before I could allow myself to cry, alone.

But that's what I'm doing now. I'm crying big fat tears and it's ok. I don't think she'd mind. I think she'd like it that I cared enough.

I knew one day she'd be gone. It's normally just a matter of time, isn't it? I just didn't think it would be today. I didn't want it to be today, or any day for that matter. You never want the people you love to die do you?

And what happens now? I have no more grandparents left which means we've all moved one level further up the tree of life. And so it continues. Life and death. Death and life.

Nanny, we love you. Enjoy the peace and happiness that I know is waiting for you.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

A comment without a reply is like a blog post without a comment...

Can I just scream?


Thank you.

Damn blogger, damn the Thai Internet connection and damn this friggin' concrete bench that I have been sitting on for the past two hours. My bottom now has no feeling in it, whatsoever, and in fact, it probably never will have, ever again.

I wanted to write a post about comments and about how important they are to a blog and about how, since I've had my little blogging break, I have totally neglected replying to anyone's wonderful comments and about the constant daily guilt I have felt as a result.

I wanted to say, well the guilt has been lifted.

I am now totally guilt free.

Because as of now, I have replied to every last comment I have received since I stopped replying to comments which just so happens to be four months, 11 posts and 318 comments ago.

That's what I wanted to say.

That's what I was planning on saying.

But I'm just going to stop and re-group instead. Take a breath. Because I have typed and re-typed the same long reply eight times (yes EIGHT) and each time I have lost the connection, and thus the comment too. And it is driving me crazy. And my bottom is numb.

And I need a drink.

And I can't keep typing it again because I may just go insane.

So please, bear with me.

While I go back and attempt to reply to every last comment that has been un-answered (and I promise, on pain of death, I will do), tell me something.

Tell me about comments.

Do you reply to every single comment you receive? Do you feel guilty if you don't? Do you go back and check if someone has replied to your comment?

In the past, I have always replied - I like to - I like to feel that people feel heard and listened to. And I'm sorry if I haven't made you feel like that recently. I have been reading them. I just haven't had the energy to reply. But I do now. I just don't have the frigging technology.


And if you have commented on my previous posts and haven't yet had a reply, then please do go back and check...I need it to have been worthwhile!

Thank you.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

History and Happiness

Seventeen years ago I fell in love.

Completely and utterly.

I knew my life would never be the same again.

And I was right.

I was 19 years old.

But it was nothing to do with a man. Or even a boy. Well, ok maybe it was just a little bit, but for the purposes of this post, it wasn't.

It was a country.


I loved it. I loved the people, the food, the climate, the hapiness that it gave to me so easily.

In those days I think I had a permanent smile etched on my face.

And sometimes when I'm sad and exhausted and overwhelmed by my present day life, I like to remember those times. I like to think that maybe one day I can feel like that again. If only for a moment.

So, it was only natural, given the past few months, that I would want to come back.

So here I am again. Seventeen years after I first arrived and 15 years since I was last here. Looking for just a little bit of that happiness.

And do you know what?

I think I've found it.

Back then I fancied myself as a bit of a philosopher. Still do, but shhhhhh, don't tell anyone. At 19 you can get away with it. At almost 36, you can't.

So if I say I wrote the following when I was 19, maybe you can forgive me, just a little bit.

You will always love the place where you learnt about life
Because you'll never believe anywhere else can offer you such riches
And understanding life being one of the world's greatest riches.

But what you have to understand is that you can never stop learning.
So don't be fooled into thinking that there's only one place for you.
The key to understanding is that you can never understand everything.

So expect everyhting, but wait for nothing.

Because if you wait it will never come.

Thailand, I still love you. Thank you for making me feel happy again. I owe you one.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The Gallery - Portrait

The thing about the blogosphere is that it moves so quickly. I never officially decided to take a break from it, but a week of not blogging turned into a couple, which turned into a month which turned into a couple of those too. And before I knew it, I hadn't posted for what seemed like forever. And not only had I missed out on all sorts of memes, tags and awards, I'd also failed to contribute to a single one of Ms Sticky Fingers' Galleries. However, when I saw that this week was entitled Portraits, I decided that I couldn't abstain any longer.

So without further ado, I hereby include my two (sorry - couldn't just include one of my children) entries.

My children - Portaits.
Little Miss Renée - aged 5.

Little Miss Edie - aged 3.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Is blogging bad for your relationship?

Well is it?

I need to know what you think.

I need to know that I'm not the only one out there who, and I quote a very famous blogger here, is prone to say,

"Not tonight darling, I'm just in the middle of tweaking my avatar".

I read a very funny article recently on Fuel My Blog which stated that the number of blogging-related problems has risen by more than 3000% over the last three years.

But aside from mental health problems brought on by paying attention to visitor counters or hurty fingers for people who can't touch type (both of which were quoted as symptoms), the real problems that I'm talking about are those which concern relationships, specifically marital ones.

Now it's no secret that I've been a bit down in the dumps recently (don't panic - I won't bore you with all that again), besides my husband would never forgive me if I told the world that we've been having marital problems.  But, you know what, we have.

So there.  I said it.

But what I want to know, is if it has anything to do with blogging.

As the Fuel My Blog article recommends,

"Involve your partner with the process.  For instance, get them to make you a cup of tea while you're blogging and say 'thank you' nicely."

Now, all jokes aside, how many of us have spent an entire evening (or erm, evenings) in front of the computer reading about other peoples' lives while ignoring that very person who we've chosen to spend our own lives with?  And how many times have we preferred to stay in and blog rather than go out and, erm not blog?

Are our other halves happy that we've found something to keep us occupied and supportive in our writing, or are they hurt and upset that they don't have quality time with us anymore and exasperated that we prefer our virtual friends to our real ones? 

I'm not saying that blogging is solely responsible for the friction within my marriage.  I mean the fact that we've seen each other for ten days out of the past 64 could have something to do with it. But seriously, as much as I love blogging and all the things that it's brought me, wasn't life just a little bit simpler before I discovered it?

I'm not sure. I'm still thinking about it.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

A little bit of Chocolate and Love

So we all know I've been a bit miserable of late.  A bit uninspired. And more than a bit prone to curling up on the sofa and sobbing until I've bored myself stupid with the sound of my own patheticness.

But, fear not.  I'm planning on putting an end to it very soon.

Besides, there's only so many times you can pretend that your watery eyes and swollen lids are because your contact lenses are playing up before someone starts to suspect the real reason you look like you've seen better days.

Sooooooo, imagine my complete and utter unadulterated delight when I opened an e-mail from Fuel My Blog a few weeks ago, asking whether I'd be interested in reviewing the 'highest quality chocolate that money can buy'.

Now I may be miserable, but I certainly am not stupid.

It had my name written all over it.


  • (a) I need to get back to blogging.
  • (b) I NEED some chocolate.
  • (c) I AM chocolate queen.

I mean, who else decides to eat chocolate every day for nine months during their pregnancy because they've read one article which states that chocolate makes for happy babies?  And who else is sent eight Mars Delights in the post by their Mother and eats them all in one sitting?  And as my husband says, only you can eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch and supper and not feel bad about it.  Well ok, you AND your Father.

What can I say?  There's a sweet tooth gene deep in my DNA.

So, having established my credentials and having let you in on a little bit of the background, you can imagine just how I was feeling when that parcel dropped through the door.


Just a little bit.

Did it matter that it was two days after Easter and I had already had my year's fill of the brown stuff?

Maybe.  But I refuse to be weighed down by irrelevancies.

The fact remains...I tore that package open like I'd been starved of chocolate for a year.  Two years.  More even.  I could smell it through the fibres of plastic wrapping and jiffy bubble wrap.

All those evenings of crying myself to sleep would be undone in an instant.  The moment that chocolate passed my lips, happiness would be mine.

I could feel it.

I emptied the bars onto the floor in front of me.

One, two, three, four, five bars of chocolate.

But hold on.

Organic dark chocolate.

Organic extra dark chocolate.

Organic extra dark chocolate with natural orange oil.

RAW chocolate.

Another organic extra dark chocolate.

I peered inside the package.  Nothing else remained.  I tipped it upside down for good measure and shook.  Hard.


I may be the chocolate queen, but I'm the chocolate queen who doesn't like dark chocolate.

At all.


The disappointment was palpable.

I could have cried.  I think maybe I did.  Organic dark chocolate bars may even have been thrown across the room.  And then I went into the kitchen and found solace in the form of my Lindt rabbit.

So what's left to say?  Well, I did of course attempt to eat it.  Tastes change over the years.  Or so they say.  Unfortunately, not in my case.

I still hate dark chocolate.

Organic or not.

Chocolate and Love or Terry's All Gold.

'Tis the same to me.

But all is not lost, Chocolate and Love.  You see, I had the ladies over.  Ladies who love dark chocolate.  I couldn't let it go to waste now could I?

And this is what they said.

Waxy, smooth, good without being too much, but not as good as Hotel Chocolat.

So 'not great, great then'? I asked.  'Well that's a shame', I said, 'because I have all these bars and they'll only be thrown in the bin.'

Needless to say, when  the ladies who love dark chocolate left for the night, there were no bars remaining.

Which is just as well.  Because I had my Lindt rabbit for company.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Birth of an Elephant

I feel unable to write at the moment. My head is filled with so many things, all impossible to share. So instead of writing I thought I'd post a video instead - and maybe my poor neglected blog won't feel sorry for itself any longer.

I saw this amazing video today and it moved me to tears. It's the birth of an elephant. And apart from the obvious miracle that is life and creation, what really moved me was the Mother elephant herself.

Just watch. You'll see what I mean.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

365 days later...

Who would have thought a year ago, when I started writing this blog that I'd still be here now?

Not me, that's for sure.

I'm almost proud of myself.

Ok, I am proud of myself.

Especially when you consider the following.

Most blogs only make it to two months before tossing in the towel. Over a million blogs have only one post and were abandoned after just one day. 1.63 million made it for 126 days and 132,000 blogs were abandoned after one year.

Like I said, I'm proud of myself.

And my blog.

I love you blog.

Thanks for being there.

And thankyou to everyone who had ever read and left a comment.

I will be forever grateful.

Here's to the next 365 days.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

How to extract a baked bean from a nostril

Isn't it funny what makes you happy?

They say it's the little things.

They could be right.

I've been feeling miserable you see. A bit sad. A bit overwhelmed by all sorts of things.

And to be honest, a bit annoyed that Edie's cot sold for a measly £19.99 to someone who then declared that it wasn't even for her and that she was intending to sell it on (for a higher price) when all I really wanted was for it to go to a good home.

C'est la vie I suppose.

But today my spirits have been lifted by something rather small.

Tiny even.

A baked bean.

And d'you know what? I don't even like baked beans.

But there you go. Sometimes your greatest nemesis provides you with your grandest triumph.


Tonight's supper...

Lasagne, brussel sprouts, baked beans.

I know. It's an odd combination, but there you go. Edie loves brussel sprouts, Renée loves baked beans and they're both indifferent to lasagne, but every now and then it's worth a try.

Five minutes into the meal...

Sudden screaming.

"Mummy...Edie's got a baked bean stuck up her nose."


In another life I would have had visions of hospitals, doctors, tweezers, stress.

But not in this life.

Oh no.

Because I am 'Mother-who-knows-how-to-extract-baked-bean-from-nostril-even-if-it's-jammed-really high-up'.

You see, sometimes I listen to friends.

Ahem, sometimes not.

Turns out that when Veronica told me what to do when you get a bead stuck up a child's nostril, I happened to be listening.

And if you're reading this and you don't know, then read on...and concentrate. Because this is what I did.

I closed the, erm, baked bean-free nostril with one hand, opened Edie's mouth with the other and blew.


A big, sudden puff.

And d'you know what happened?

The baked bean shot across the room like a bullet.


I CAN NOT tell you how chuffed I was.

This might give you some idea.

I did a lap of honour around the sitting room, waving my arms like an albatross as I went.

And now I'm smiling a big, big smile.

Like I said, it's the small things that make a difference.

And PS - if you've commented on my previous few posts I apologise for not having replied. I promise I will...asap x

Monday, 25 January 2010

Cot - farewell my friend

If there is ever a seminal moment in a child's life, it's the transition from babies cot to big grown-up bed.

This normally occurs somewhere around the child's second birthday, which means that the child has no memory of the move, making it more of a seminal moment in a parent's life, as they lament the end of the baby years.

Which is exactly what I'm doing at the moment.

And I'm emotional.

For Edie, this transition has been, somewhat fraught, not to mention rather slow, starting more than a year ago and ending last night with the listing of it on e-bay.

I almost cried.

Edie may have already turned three, but she has show no signs of wanting to make the transition into her big girls bed, if 'Mummy, cot'. *wail, sob, sob, wail* 'Mummy, cot, pleeeeeease', is anything to go by.

Silly, maybe, but it has been more than just a place to sleep. For a child such as Edie, who lists her best friends as 'pillow' and 'thumb', 'cot' has been her little sanctuary, a place that she has always welcomed, never ever resisted and on numerous occasions, has had to be forcibly removed from.

But the time has come. She is now as long as the cot itself and, I hate to admit it, almost as wide.

It is, however, still in her room, and until e-bay works its magic, there it shall remain, a reminder of happier times. And I say that because last night at 2 o'clock in the morning, I sat cradling a crying child who had, unfortunately, thumped to the floor from her newly-slept in bed. The presence of 'cot' was not welcome, causing, as it did, even more tears.

Little Edie, we will never forget your cot. I was even tempted to write a poem, 'an ode to cot', but having sat here for the last half an hour trying to work out what rhymes with cot other than bot bot, I realise that I am, erm, not a poet.

So little cherub, this will have to do.

You were a baby.
And now you're not.
Hello bed.
Goodbye cot.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Your game is up

Over the weekend we had a French relative staying with us. I say 'relative' because I'm not sure what she was (other than being a person, obviously). What I mean is that I'm not sure whether she's a niece, a cousin, a second cousin even. My husband's side of the family is so big that it's almost irrelevant, as it is for this post.

What is important though, is that she works for a jeweller who makes big and beautiful rings and had come over to London to supply some of them to a very famous pop star to wear for her next video.

When she arrived at our house, having already deposited the chosen rings in London, she was armed with an array of jewellery which would have made even the fussiest of princesses happy.

As you can imagine, the girls were beside themselves with excitement, dressing up with the rings, trying each one on and posing for photographs heavily laden with jewellery.

Renée, especially, thought that this cousin and her rings were the best things ever. In fact, over the course of the weekend I had more than a few,

"Mummy, I want to be just like Clementine when I'm older."

It was kind of cute.

And when Clementine went back to Paris and left a ring brochure for each of the girls as a present, Renée was in no doubt as to what she wanted to do with it.

"Mummy, can I take it in to 'Show and Tell' please? Mummy, can I? Please?"

I didn't see why not.

"Of course you can darling."

Later that day Renée was met from school by my husband and the first thing he said as he entered the house was this,

"Apparently 'Show and Tell' went really well. Everyone loved the rings and they were looking at the brochure for so long that no one else had time to show anything. Even the teacher loved it."

I felt myself swell with happiness, imagining my little girl, the one that hasn't been that happy at school recently, so proud to show off the ring brochure in front of her friends.

"It was amazing Mummy. The book was passed round to everyone in the class and they all loved the rings."

"Yes, Papa just told me darling. I'm so glad it went well for you."

And that, I thought, was that.

Except it wasn't.

Later that afternoon, as Renée was sitting on the sofa, still turning the pages and looking through the brochure with wide eyes, while her friend Katherine, who had popped over to play, was starting to show signs of boredom, I decided to intervene.

"Darling, don't you think that maybe you've looked at that brochure a bit too much now? Katherine might be bored with it, especially since she's already seen it today at 'Show and Tell'.

Katherine looked at me, puzzled.

"But we didn't have 'Show and Tell' today."

I looked at Renée's crestfallen face as she realised that the game was up.

I was amazed.

Isn't it funny that at 5 years old, she's able to spin such a yarn that even her own Mother believes her. Or is a Mother the first one to believe?

I'm not sure whether to be impressed by her story-telling skills or annoyed that she lied to me.

Crikey, it's only slightly worrying for the future.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Blogging for Haiti

I would make a useless journalist. I just can't keep up with the news. I love writing, but I can only do it when I have a spare moment and not when I have a house full of guests. Which is why I am now a week late in joining the campaign 'Blogging for Haiti'. I even thought (for one milisecond I admit) that it was too late to write this post seeing as I'll be the last one doing it.


It is never too late.

The earthquake may have struck Haiti on Tuesday 12th January, killing over 200,000 people, but the deaths are still continuing. There is now a huge concern for the spread of disease in a country where HIV, tuberculosis and malaria are rampant.

So, I may be late in posting this, but it is still just as necessary to raise awareness.

The amazing English Mum has rallied all the bloggers into giving their support in hope that we can raise enough money to pay for a Shelter Box - see left).
Each box contains -
  • A ten-person tent with privacy partitions that allow its occupants to divide the space as they see fit.
  • A range of other survival equipment including thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets, essential in areas where temperatures plummet at nightfall.
  • Life-saving means of water purification. Water supplies often become contaminated after a major disaster, as infrastructure and sanitation systems are destroyed. This presents a secondary but no less dangerous threat to survivors than the initial disaster itself.
  • A basic tool kit containing a hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters. These items enable people to improve their immediate environment, by chopping firewood or digging a latrine, for example. Then, when it is possible, to start repairing or rebuilding the home they were forced to leave.
  • A wood burning or multi-fuel stove that can burn anything from diesel to old paint. This provides the heart of the new home where water is boiled, food is cooked and families congregate. In addition, there are pans, utensils, bowls, mugs and water storage containers.
  • A children's pack containing drawing books, crayons and pens. For children who have lost most, if not all, of their posessions, these small gifts are treasured.
Initially the aim was to raise £500 (just enough to pay for one Shelter Box). However, the blogging for Haiti campaign has been so successful that the total now stands at an amazing £3000, which means that 6 boxes have been bought.
If you haven't donated already, then please, please click on the following.
Remember, it's never too late.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Is your husband big enough for you?

My poor husband.

A look of anguish fills his face as he ponders the future, knowing that all is not as he thought it was.

He is depressed.

Today, however, it has nothing to do with health, or money, or work, or family. Ok, well it might have a little to do with each and every one of the above, but for the purpose of this post, it has nothing to do with them.

Today my husband has measured himself.

And before all you ladies start squealing with excitement, I'm talking about his height of course.

But this is no laughing matter, I can assure you.

For today my husband has realised that he is 5 foot 11, when, for the whole of his fully-grown, adult life, he believed himself to be a statuesque 6 foot 1.

Where on earth those missing two inches have gone is anybody's guess. Admittedly, the poor love is French and does get a tad confused with feet and inches.

But the plain truth prevails.

He is 5 foot 11.

For we have measured. And measured again, just to be sure.

So why is he so depressed? What is it about a man's height, or a woman's weight or dress size for that matter, that becomes such an obsession? Why do we lie, or kid ourselves or exaggerate or stand up loud and proud and tell the world that our baby is so huge that their vital statistics can't even be plotted on a graph?

Does a man have to be big to be a man, or a woman skinny to be a woman?

Of course not.

So what is it then?

Just as I'm sitting here pondering the answer, it lands directly in my lap.

A text message from my husband.

"My ears are burning. Are you writing about me? I don't mind as long as at the end you say that I'm big enough and tall enough for all your needs."

So there's the answer. It's as simple as that. All men want is to be big enough for their women.


And, for the record, husband, 5 foot 11 is enough for me.

Monday, 11 January 2010

A case of rose-coloured spectacles?

I was having a phone conversation with my Mother a while ago whilst at the same time trying to fend off various requests from one or other of my children. The conversation stopped, started, stopped and re-started a number of times while I listened to Renée tell me that Edie had pulled her hair, Edie ask me if she could have something to eat, Renée tell me that Edie had now bitten her and Edie ask me to wipe her bottom.

These days, it's extremely rare that I manage to have a phonecall without any interruptions, at least during the day. The important ones, the ones where it really won't do to have a screaming child in the background have to be left until the evening, by which time I'm completely exhausted and can think of nothing I'd like less than to be chatting on the phone. Needless to say, I don't make many phonecalls.

But during this conversation with my mother, she happened to say, something along the lines of,

"These days children really are the centre of attention aren't they?"

I bristled a little I think.

"What do you mean Mum?" I asked.

"Well when you and your brother were younger, it never used to be like that at all. Your Father and I had our own lives."

And before you start imagining me as a young child being herded around by an endless supply of Nannys, I can assure you that that couldn't be further from the truth. My Mother was at home with the two of us, trying her best to keep us entertained, just as I try my my little ones.

I pressed her on it a bit more, interested to uncover her secret to perfect parenting. Annoyingly, though, she couldn't recall the elusive elixir, only that things had been different.

But it did get me thinking.

Yes, my children are the centre of my world. But do I have any other choice? I mean, do I, if I choose to be a Stay-at-Home-Mother? They're five and three. Can I really expect them to entertain each other while I get on and lead an independent life in another room? Do I even want to? Well, yes, actually, sometimes I do, but that's probably because I've been couped up with them for rather too long, thanks to the snow.

But seriously, we've all heard the old expression 'children should be seen and not heard'. Now I can't imagine that that applies to anyone these days, but it must have done once.

Have children changed so much? Have the adults? Do we indulge our children with too much attention? Or perhaps, as I'm sure is the case with my Mother, she likes to put on her rose-coloured spectacles. I'll give you a quick example. We never had snotty noses as children. Oh yes, and childbirth didn't hurt at all.

See what I mean?

So maybe in a few years, I'll look back, put on my rose-coloured spectacles too and forget just how hard it was.

Here's hoping.

In the meantime, I just have a couple of bottoms that need wiping...

Apart from my own, obviously.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Favourite Photo Meme - 'the way we were'

I've been tagged by the gorgeous That Girl at 40 Not Out and the equally gorgeous Brighton Mum in the Favourite Photo Meme, started by the no less gorgeous Tara over at Sticky Fingers. So without further ado, here is my contribution.

Us, 'the way we were', before the two little monkeys came along. Would love to include some photos of said monkeys, but, they never appear on the blog.

Oh go on then, just one...

Aren't they just the cutest?
I hereby pass this meme on to the following five people...
Mamma Po at Island Mum of 2
Tasha at WAHM-BAM
Rebel Mother at the newly-named Rebel Mother (formerly Another Day in the Madhouse)
Good luck ladies. Can't wait to see your photos!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Do you shave or do you wax or do you even care?

I'd like to say that I'm not normally so shallow as to sit and ponder life's more mundane matters.

So here goes.

I'm not normally so shallow.

However, on occasion, even the deepest thinkers among us *cough*, enjoy chewing the cud about something as superficial as, erm, shaving our legs.

You see, it's not just me. I noticed a tweet the other day from @porridgebrain (aka Josie from Sleep is for the Weak) where she realised it was too cold to shave her legs because all she was doing was shaving off the top layer of her goosebumps.


I know exactly where you're coming from Josie. As I'm sure do most of us.

Except those who wax our legs, or just leave them to grow, heaven forbid.

But whatever our, er, under-trouser state of affairs, it's a topic which affects us all - even the husbands I'm sure, as they're spiked in the night by a bristly brillo pad masquerading as a leg.

But that of course leads to the eternal question.

Do you shave or do you wax, or do you even care?

So this is the thing. Before I had children I would enjoy my monthly wax, knowing that for three whole weeks, at least, my legs would be as smooth as, well, my just-waxed legs. I wanted to say as smooth as a baby's bottom, obviously, but at that moment in time I (a) hadn't ever touched a baby's bottom and (b) they were never really that smooth anyway.

And then I had my first child and after a few weeks of disposable knickers, rubber rings and the inevitable hirsute state of my legs, I decided that I'd better try to smarten myself up just a little.

So I booked a waxing appointment. And then I remembered that I now had a tiny baby who couldn't just be left at home. Hmmmmm. But that needn't be a burden, I thought - she sleeps in the pushchair most of the time - I'll just phone the salon and ask them for a ground floor room so I can leave the pushchair in the corner without waking her up.

Easy as pie.

Except, apparently, it wasn't.

"Oh no, we don't allow babies here," they informed me rather too matter-of-factly. "Health and safety you see."

"But she'll be asleep in the pushchair. She won't even move. I'll park her as far away from the hot wax as possible."

"No. I'm sorry, it against our Health and Safety policy."



So that was that. After 15 years, my monthly waxing sessions had come to an abrupt halt. I could have carried on at some point, of course, or even mixed-up some home-made concoction, but I didn't trust myself with a baby and hot wax (maybe they had a point) and besides, apart from it being much easier to shave, the moment you've picked up that razor, all the years of waxing benefits are undone in an instant.

And that's a fact.

However, like all good stories, of which this is one (obviously), there is a happy ending. Just bear with me for one more moment.

So, I was lying in the bath the other night, lamenting the fact that even with my 5-year-old Wilkinson Sword Lady Protector (in pink), my legs never seem to be smooth for more than two whole hours, when I spied my husband's Gillette Fusion Power Phenom thingy best a man can get, etc, etc, and I thought why not?

Why not indeed? Why should my legs be inferior to his cheeks?

So, of course, I tried.

And d'you know what?


That's all I'm saying.


Why had I never thought of it before?

I now have legs which are indeed as smooth as a baby's bottom and my husband has cheeks as prickly as a hedgehog's bottom and he can't quite work out why.

Hee hee.


Before I go just a quick, but huge apology to all my wonderful blogging friends who I haven't visited in a while. I've been struggling somewhat to keep my bah humbug attitude in check and have opted to completely ignore both Christmas and the New Year, at least in terms of writing about it, hoping that if I keep my head down I will be able to emerge in January to bright sunshine.

Snow anyone?