Saturday, 6 December 2014

My Christmas Wish list

Every year, hubby attempts to be organised by asking me in November, what I'd like for Christmas. I always give the same response - "I'll think about it". Fast forward a few weeks and I'm still thinking about it. By now he's bought something and this year I'm really hoping it's one of the following;

1. Mac KeepSakes Smokey face palette.£42.00 from

2. No! No! Plus Hair Removal System - now let's be honest, if this really materialised from beneath the Primark wrapping paper, I think I might be a little offended. Nevertheless, it makes my wish list. £173.99 from Boots

3. Anthea Turners book - "How to be the Perfect Housewife".
I really really want this book, but perhaps not from my other half. Too close to home. I'll make this a present to myself from where used copies start at £0.01 but new copies a rather elusive and expensive. Expect to pay upwards of £20


4. Heeled Tan Ankle boots to pair with skinny jeans and just about anything. This pair from Dune would be great! Currently £77.00 (reduced from £129.00) from

5. Michael Kors Rose gold earrings. Who doesn't want a bit of bling at Christmas? These are priced at £79.00 at House of Fraser

6. A Sports watch 
The day I thought I lost my watch in the gym changing rooms I was overcome with guilt for being so careless. I realised then that I could really do with an everyday watch. One that I could wear for mum duty and the gym without worrying too much about scuffs and scrapes or even the loss thereof. So this is the one I'm dreaming of.

7. A robot vacuum cleaner - yes really! Those things are amazing. Their invention an indicator that we really have arrived in the future. However, I'd hate for anyone to think they were gifting me and not the household with this domestic godsend. This little beauty from Samsung is priced at £800

8. Converse tracksuit - as the winter months roll on I've been finding leggings a bit boring for post school run gym sessions. I like to have my gym kit on then go straight to the gym after I've done the school drop off, but I need an alternative to my running leggings. And these converse joggers from Next (£42.00) fit the bill quite nicely.


9. As for stocking fillers, Ed Sheeran's new album X or "Multiply" would really make my day! I could listen to Ed all day.

What's on your Christmas wish list?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

9 Reasons to Appreciate Stay At Home Mums

There seems to be such a lot being said of SAHMs in our society, a lot of it pretty negative. All this 'talk' prompted me to think about the benefits SAHMs actually bring to society. If it's not accusations of SAHMs allowing their brains to become as soft as "over cooked spaghetti" (thanks Lowri Turner), it's the assumptions they are all addicted to Day time TV ( Jeremy Kyle seems to feature quite frequently) and coffee mornings.


In a small effort to redress the balance, here are 9 reasons to appreciate a SAHM

1. They call the fire brigade on an empty house letting off smoke (a true story - I honestly did call the fire brigade, turns out is was a real fire, brought under control just in time)

2. On the return journey from the school run (the journey to school is far too stressful to stop for anything), they actually read notices of missing pets taking note to look out for them. 

3. They drop in on an elderly person providing much needed company.

4. They organise school Christmas fairs and other fund raising initiatives, raising money to improve school facilities and therefore improving the community's schools.


5. They are the class reps who remind you about own clothes day or that cake sale.

6. They are regular users of local businesses. SAHM's are more likely to take a trip to the local butchers, then the bakery next door and that old clichè - the coffee shop. All this before the Tesco delivery arrives and just in time to turn the slow cooker off

7. SAHMs help make neighbourhoods communities. Since joining the ranks of  school goers, our family's world has really opened up in an unexpected way. Meeting other local families with similar interests means we are exploring our local facilities more. We are looking out for each other's families and really want to make our community a great place to live.

8. They are the unofficial neighbourhood watch - because they are home at "odd" times, SAHMs will soon spot undesirable situations in and around the community and report or question things which may otherwise go unnoticed.

9. They are neighbourly - from taking in deliveries during the day to moving your wheelly bins off the public pavement or walk way - SAHMs look out for their neighbours.

So you see it's not just coffee mornings and Jeremy Kyle for company. SAHMs are not just good for their own children and their immediate families, they do infact have a wider impact on their community, and dare I say, society.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

To Luxuriate – A mother’s Poem

Today I will luxuriate in a softly lit room accompanied by my thoughts

Today I will luxuriate as someone else takes the strain of vacuum cleaning under a sofa. The very sofa on which I must luxuriate

Today I will luxuriate in the company of Grazia magazine. Today I will read it back to back

Today I will luxuriate in the temporary absence of my darling children.

Today I will luxuriate in the cleanliness of my home, a cleanliness enhanced by soft playing classical music 

Today I will luxuriate, if but for one hour, I will luxuriate

Thursday, 6 November 2014


I've just discovered #wickedwedneday thanks to @brummymummyof2, a mum blogger I'm following on twitter. 

If I understand the #wickedwednesday rules correctly, I'm supposed to post a brief blog entry accompanied by a picture of some humorous or interesting recent occurrence in my capacity as parent. So here goes....

That my friends, was Wednesday's lunch. I have a feeling Pink did not approve...?

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Are We All Perfect Parents?

I recently read a great article on the parenting website I thoroughly enjoyed reading about various things parents feel guilty about and took comfort in many of the "not guilty" verdicts determined by the author Georgia James. The article, titled "Drop the Parental guilt (you're doing a brilliant job)", got me thinking about whether we are all "doing a brilliant job" as parents. As pleased as I was to be relieved of some parental guilt, I grew afraid that we can't all be "doing a brilliant job". 


With stories in the news about British children having milk teeth extracted due to irreversible damage and rot, and others starting school in nappies or barely able to recognise numbers or letters, we can't all be "doing a brilliant job", can we?,

Most parents try their utmost to provide the very best for their offspring, whilst dealing with the constraits of time, money and resources. But there are those few in our society who for a variety of reasons, just aren't trying. The parents who don't know any better or those who do know but can't be bothered. 

The fact is parenting is a tough gig, which is rarely without guilt. Those who are trying are rightly aspiring to be better parents and raise well adjusted children who we steer towards independence, happiness and the right attitude. We arm them with the advantages of education, culture, social skills and seek to refine their skills and talents.

Conversely there are parents, living in a "first world" country who simply aren't aspiring, trying or even taking advantage of so many tools and resources at their disposal. I have met parents who have never been to a (free) antenatal class because they don't see the point in having a medical professional tell them they'll have a baby in a few months. I also know of those whose children are consistently bribed or rewarded with sweet treats despite the parents knowledge that sweets are bad for teeth and general health. I know too of those who allow their children everything they ask for (because it's easier) yet can never satisfy them.

I do spare a thought for those who simply don't know that feeding their child ready meals on a regular basis is not good for their health; those who don't have time to read to their child every night; and those living on a budget so tight that any suggestion that they save some money for some cultural experience next summer would be met with laughter. Not because they don't value a cultural experience for their family, but because it's simply unrealistic for them to set aside money for future use when there are so many demands on their money right now.

Ofcourse the majority of parents are "doing a brilliant job". That's why Britain  continues to produce world class scientists, artists and sportsmen and women. But, sadly not all parents are striving for the very best they could provide. And that parenting style, which we lable "bad parenting" or "poor parenting" can only lead to one conclusion: no, we are not all "doing a brilliant job", but so many of us are trying, sacrificing, sweating and stressing for one of the most worthy of causes - our children.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Savvy Half Term - how we did it for (nearly) free

The cost of half term can add up so easily. From parents having to use annual leave to spend time at home with young children, to forking out even more than usual to make the most of this time together and entertain said children, the half term budget can grow beyond reasonable. So here are some savvy ideas for having a great time and spending next to nothing.

1. Visit a Museum or two.

Many museums offer free entry, charging fees for specific exhibitions or events. However, there's a lot to keep children (and adults) occupied without the fee paying events. Prepare a packed lunch or picnic cutting out the cost of dining out.

2. Visit a Shopping centre.

No, not for the shopping. Larger shopping centres often have half term events on. Some of these are free of charge. We recently saw Ben & Holly at a  shopping centre nearby, for free and were back home in time for lunch so spent nothing apart from the cost of petrol.

3. Visit your local park. 
The park is always a big hit in our family, and weather permitting, a picnic lunch follows on nicely. There's often a bit of bread left over for the ducks and bikes and scooters see some action.

4. Have a toy overhaul.
Spend sometime going though old toys, or as they are known in my household, clutter. Weed out and agree what can be given away to "other children who don't  have many toys". It is surprising how generous even young children can be if you explain the reason for giving with the above rationale. We took some old toys to a charity shop after an entire morning of examining, reminiscing, playing with and bagging old toys.

5. Have an Arts and Crafts day.

I often find the term "arts and crafts" a bit daunting as I imagine it means making amazing structures or knitting an entire blanket that an actual human could use. In reality, and certainly in my household ,it just means cutting pictures out of old magazines or catalogues (great for creating a Christmas wish list), practicing writing and drawing, and working on our home made rocket which happens to be Blue's half term homework. By the way I find a little classical music in the background gets the creative juices going and aids concentration.

What's on your list of low cost or free half term activities? 

Have you got any savvy half term tips to share?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Here Comes Half Term - 5 things to do

So we are nearly at the finish line of the first half of term one. I'm not quite sure why it feels like the time has passed so quickly given that this first half term has been life changing. In these last few weeks we've discovered jolly phonics and numicons, we've realised just how busy the roads are at 8.30am and 3pm, and have been surprised to learn that most 4 and 5 year olds are gifted with more dexterity and self control than we previously gave credit for or dared to discover for ourselves.
            Crossing the finish line 

I've been fortunate to have hit the "I don't want to go to school" wall only once so far. However I am no stranger to the after school challenge where by mummy gets  everything so wrong. Things like forgetting the Thomas the Tank engine umbrella ( it wasn't even raining); forgetting the helmet ( ok fair enough, I left in a hurry); talking to the other mums for too long, thereby wasting precious walking home time; and after a long day at school, serving up the wrong food.

So with half term upon us there's a part of me that just wants to relax and not rush around for anything. But there's also a part of me that is addicted to routine and therefore I need to have some kind of schedule in place. (Besides two young children will never permit an entire week of relaxation). So inspired by a half term planner I saw on, I thought I'd loosely plan some half term activities.
1. A trip to London to fulfil that London bus fascination - probably to the natural history museum - hello dinosaurs
                 A London bus

2. Visit the local museum - 20 mins drive for a free day out with arts and crafts and musical instruments. This should please both children and the purse.

3. Crèche - mummy still needs gym time even at half term. A gym session will re-energise me for mum duty. Besides both children seem to enjoy the fact that this is something they can do together, parent free.

4. A day of boredom at home because boredom breeds innovation and creativity. I'm hopeful but can't deny a little nervousness.

5. A play date - a long awaited catch up with friends from nursery. I wonder if previous best friends can still hold this title after being apart for weeks.

Making this list only serves up a realisation that we will probably have another busy week. These 5 items don't even include the School Halloween disco, the party on Saturday followed by another party on Sunday. 

The business of parenting is relentless work!

What have you got planned for planned half term?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

8 Things No one Told Us About Starting School

As a first timer with the business of the school run, there are a few things I have come to realise I just wasn't prepared for. Despite my dry runs, timing the walk from door to door (I even considered investing in a pedometer to get scientific verification of which of 2 routes was more efficient), I am surprised to be surprised.  

1. At least twice a week, a scooter will collide with the back of your legs. The correct response by the way, is to genuinely accept the other parents profuse apologies because you will be seeing them again and there is a strong likelihood, your child will scoot into their legs before the weekend.

2. The PTA - to join or not to join?
The school PTA is a good gang to associate oneself with. Such was my strategy anyway until I was scared off when the role of Treasurer was announced as vacant and urgently requiring a volunteer. I don't want to be the treasurer! That means being responsible for the school's money. Anyway I suspect you have to be atleast a part qualified accountant to be an effective treasurer and actually enjoy it. I think I'll stick to making pretty things for the Christmas fair and helping the teachers with organising the class room and resources.

3. The head teacher makes me want to behave. I like the fact that the head teacher is a strong no nonsense type, but even I feel I have to sit up straight and tuck my shirt in in her presence. She just commands authority.

4. Road safety ground rules.
Road safety has taken centre stage in our family since the start of school. Despite my confidence that my child understands the rules, I have to remember children get carried away and they will influence and be influence by others resulting in scooter races at rush hour. Confiscation of the scooter is not out of the question.

5. The Ice cream van. 
I find the presence of the sugar dispenser, I mean, Ice cream van right outside the school premises irritating to say the least. I wonder when it will be replaced by a fruit and veg van.

6. A 4/5 year old is actually capable of carrying their own tray of food from counter to table - AMAZING! We are only a few weeks into the first term of school and not once has the loss of lunch through clumsiness been reported. I'm too nervous to try this out at home.

7. Your child will make friends beyond the control zone. There will be new friends whose presence in your child's life you did not orchestrate. Don't we all get used to arranging play dates with parents we like? Those who we consider like minded? Well, it's all about to end because children will make their own friends at school and inevitably, you'll be asked to arrange a play date with a child you know nothing about. This could be awkward!

8. The comradery - meeting other mums and families who are actually, genuinely like minded people. The parenting tips, the recipe sharing, the decorating steals and uniform swaps ... I could go on but I'll stop now before I start declaring undying love and detailing weird codependency habits.

Is this how it should be or am I still high on new starter enthusiasm?
How have you found starting school?