Why Hello, Miss Judgeypants. Meet my Tantruming Two Year Old.

I see you there, lady, looking at me with sceptical eyes. All child-free and smartly dressed. You’ve just come out of your hotel room refreshed and rested and well-coifed (I’ve been desperate to use the word ‘coifed’. What a word.). It’s ten am and I bet you haven’t long since got up. Maybe you woke up early, at nine am, and you and your equally smart boyfriend had ‘early morning’ hotel sex. Then you had a nice shower and got ready at your leisure. You’ve even straightened your hair.

And yes, I heard you. You carefully walked around my two year old who is kindly having a huge temper tantrum at the top of the stairs, and then- loudly enough to make sure I heard it- muttered:

“People shouldn’t bring children to hotels if they can’t control them.” 

Cheers for that babe. Funnily enough, someone from your family (I saw you come in yesterday)  commented only an hour ago how beautifully behaved this very two year old was, at breakfast. She said how nicely she sat and ate her breakfast and how she thought it was adorable that she was saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to the waitress. But you’re not aware of that, of course. You’re judging my daughter based on the fact that she is currently stood at the top if a set of stairs in a hotel screaming blue murder, arching her back so I can’t carry her and turning such a bright red that one would assume she requires an exorcist.

The thing is, there’s two bits of your statement that are somewhat peeving.

The first is that children should have to pass some kind of ‘behaviour test’ before they should be permitted into hotels, or maybe even any public place. Or perhaps parents should have to take a ‘parenting test’? That despite my husband and I working hard all year, we should not consider taking our family away for a weekend in case it inconveniences people like you. But you know, I’ll forgive you that. You’re young, you’re child-free, you don’t know. You don’t realise that we have spent the entire weekend having to find twenty seven bloody toilets because one of our daughters need a wee, like, NOW. You don’t realise that whilst you were sleeping, we were being ‘DOGPIIILLLLEEEED’ at six thirty this morning, and that at eight thirty last night we were sat drinking wine and whispering to each other in the bathroom. You also don’t realise that it’s all totally worth it, on account of being able to get away from our house for a weekend, make a mess when someone else is being paid to clean it up, eat breakfast where we don’t have to do the dishes, and be away enjoying the company of our kids and showing them somewhere else other than the bloody park or the soft play centre. But I’ll forgive you that.

But the part of your statement that… well , it makes me feel a little bit stabby- is your implication  that I can’t control my child, and the insinuation that perhaps someone else could have done it better. Perhaps you? I’ll tell you now: this particular child, my two year old, is very well behaved. Most of the time. She is super polite, very kind, very affectionate, and generally very agreeable.

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But occasionally, just occasionally, she is completely unreasonable.

Perhaps, as you are implying, this is due to my ‘lack of control’. So prey tell, my judgey little friend, what should I have done differently? If you were her parent, how would you have prevented/ stopped her little outbursts?

I am all ears…

Tantrum number One (Monday)

Where: Home

Duration: 15 minutes.

Cause: I wouldn’t let her eat dog food.

Further info: Said child was given her breakfast, but decided she did not want to eat it. Instead preferred the look of the dog meat. That the dog was already eating. I offered her an alternative breakfast. I insisted, firmly and fairly, that she could not eat the dog food and should eat her own food as it was almost time to leave for pre-school. Much drama ensued.

End: I bundled her, still screaming, into her car seat. Some time on the way she found an old raisin and ate that, and seemingly forgot about the desired dog food.

Tantrum Two (Tuesday)

Where: The middle of the city centre.

Duration: 5 minutes.

Cause: I wouldn’t let her eat a crisp off the floor.

Further info: It wasn’t her crisp.

End: I bottled it, and promised to buy her crisps if she would please stop screaming.

Tantrum Three (Thursday)

Where: Home

Duration: At least 30 minutes. I lost all sense of time.

Cause: She wanted to wear her pineapple top.

Further Info: She doesn’t own a pineapple top. No-one does.

End: Honestly, I can’t remember. Maybe she passed out. Maybe I did.

Tantrum Four (Thursday again)

Where: Home, but about six hours later.

Duration: Another twenty minutes.

Cause: She remembered about the pineapple top.

Further info: We still have no pineapple top.

End: I laid down on the floor and pretended to be asleep. Or dead. She wandered off to find Daddy.

Sunday (Today Miss Judgey Pants)

Where: The hotel

Duration: So far, five minutes. It could continue for some time yet.

Cause: We don’t have her doll’s house with us.

Further info: We brought plenty of toys for the kids to play with, toys that they chose. The four foot doll’s house was not one of them. Once she said she needed the doll’s house, I distracted her, tried to play with other toys, even got her sister involved trying to change her mind, all to no avail.

End: We went swimming. She likes swimming.


Perhaps, Miss Judgeypants, you think that she’s a naughty child, as made evident form aforementioned tantrums. Perhaps you’ll argue that if she was better behaved then they wouldn’t have happened in the first place. But I don’t think so. I think she’s two. I think she has no understanding of why she can’t eat dog food. If the dog is eating then why shouldn’t she? Same goes for the grubby floor crisps. For some reason she has in her head that she owns a pineapple top and she couldn’t comprehend why on earth I was stopping her from wearing it. And she always has her toys near her usually, why wouldn’t her doll’s house be here? She doesn’t understand that we’re five hours away from her doll’s house and contrary to belief, my changing bag does not actually contain the entire contents of our house. Though my husband would argue otherwise.

I don’t think it makes me a bad mother that I could neither predict nor stop her little meltdowns. I’ve tried various different techniques. I followed Super Nanny’s advice, I tried ignoring them, telling her off, making threats, and when all else fails: bribery. Sometimes, she just goes. And all I can really do is try to reason with her and wait for the storm to pass. It neither proves nor disproves my ability as a parent. It certainly doesn’t make my daughter an asshole. Well, any more of an asshole that any other two year old.

One day, Miss Judgeypants, maybe you’ll have a two year old and they’ll have an almighty breakdown about the colour of their socks or the noise the microwave makes. Maybe you’ll remember me. Maybe you’ll feel a little bit guilty over trying to make me feel bad about my daughter.

If by some weird coincidence I’m there when you’re wrestling your own child, I won’t be smug. I’ll smile at you and welcome you to the club.


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Being a Parent Made me Crap at Dieting

So in the build up to having my youngest daughter, I spent two months in hospital, which you can read about here if you haven’t already. Done it? Welcome back. I don’t like to go on about it (ahem)…. As a result, by the time she eventually came into  the world, I had seriously put on some timber. Two and a half stone of timber I may add. And that’s after the baby arrived.

“Don’t panic!” I told myself. “I’m young! I’m active! I’m educated on healthy eating! I can lose that weight in nooooo time.”


The first stone came off easy enough. Once I wasn’t sat in a hospital bed eating out the entire stock of the hospital M&S Food, and instead spending my days chasing after three sprogs, and breastfeeding, I didn’t really need to do a huge amount to lose it. But six months on, and no further weight has shifted.

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It looks like I fit into these trousers. Not so. The fat is just smooshed up to make a flubber shelf. Its all glamour.

A friend of mine is a spokesperson for Juice Plus, and clean eating, so being the salesperson’s dream that I am, I signed up. I’m not really into meal replacement shakes (if you are then great, I’m not judging in the slightest) so I opted for the capsules alongside following their eating plan which effectively consists of ‘clean eating’; I.e: no refined sugars, no processed foods, lots of vegetables, meat, and natural or brown carbohydrates. It’s a food ethos I really believe in and I couldn’t recommend it enough. The capsules have also really helped my skin and hair and whatever your thoughts on them are, I love them. You’re also supposed to exercise every day, as we all should anyway.

Unfortunately, believing in the diet and knowing it’s brilliant does not mean I’m very good at following it.

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Take yesterday. I woke up and my husband and I completed the Insanity workout. Afterwards we had a brunch of poached eggs and spinach on rye bread. We then went out for a walk with the girls, and came back to cook a healthy roast chicken, with very little added fats and lots of vegetables. We finished with fruit and yoghurt.

Then the kids went to bed, and we ate an entire tub of Ben and Jerry’s, a bottle of wine, and a KEBAB.

So goes every day. I start well, but by mid morning I’m sneaking a biscuit or two (or twelve). I’m totally ignoring the ‘one coffee a day’ guideline and am matching my caffeine intake to my oxygen intake. I finish off the kids crisps, I’m putting butter on my rice cakes and if I meet a friend for coffee I find myself accidentally adding a teeny weeny biscuit when I get to the till. Or a skinny blueberry muffin. Or a slice of triple chocolate cake with extra frosting and cream with chocolate sprinkles. And then, at the end of day, when the kids have gone to bed, I somehow find myself replacing my glass of water with a bowl of fruit and one square of extra dark chocolate with a bottle of wine, a bar of Dairy Milk (no, not the little ones) and a tub of ice-cream. And my intention of doing a home workout dvd every day… The thought is there. Unfortunately the action isn’t.

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Still not enough.

But I’ve worked out why it is.

Since having my first child six years ago, I don’t go out anymore. I very rarely go out for nice meals. I don’t smoke. I spend my money on baby grows and drama lessons and school shoes.  As it should be. When I get an hour where the kids are entertaining themselves or asleep, I either catch up on work or housework. Two of my kids still wake up at night, so if I don’t drink copious amounts of coffee I suspect I may actually die. If I get the chance to spend a morning catching up with a friend I really love being able to sit down and chat sometimes rather than us both chasing after our two year olds as they try to find how many ways they can kill themselves on a nature walk (“DON’T JUMP IN THE POND! DON’T EAT THE MUD! PLEEEEAAAASE DON’T THROW ROCKS AT THE DUCKS!”). And at the end of the evening, when my husband is finally home and the children are in bed asleep, and we have two hours before we have to go bed, I’m knackered. I don’t want to go out to an aerobics class. I know I should be doing Insanity or Davina McCall’s latest DVD. I know I shouldn’t be eating two hours before bed time. I also know I shouldn’t be drinking on a school night. But the thought of binge-watching Elementary and eating Ben and Jerry’s until I feel sick with a glass of wine is just. too. damn. tempting.

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If Ben or Jerry are reading, yes I DO do endorsements….

So I’m making the decision to stay a little bit fatter than I would choose. I’m deciding to keep my ever-so-slightly-bigger love handles and have arms that I have to make sure aren’t pressed to my side in pictures because they look enormous. I will eat healthily because I don’t want to be ill, and because I don’t want to get fatter, and I will do as much exercise as I can. But for now, my six-pack is being kept warm for winter and the gap between my thighs is currently awaiting completion. And I’m OK with it. I’ve housed three small humans, and I gained that extra lard making sure one of them could stay in two months longer than she wanted to. The coffee stops me from falling asleep at the wheel on the way to school and the time spent working instead of doing Jazzercise is the ballet classes I can afford to send them to. And the wine and ice-cream… Well that’s just for me.


I’ll get skinny again some other time. Maybe….. Did someone say cake?

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So Much Hate…

My last post, about the eight weeks I spent in the NHS, was quite a serious one, and I was supposed to follow it up with an article that went back to my usual ridiculous humour. I was supposed to be publishing an article on childbirth, and it promised to be a hoot. It has vagina jokes! It has vomit! It has me getting high!! It was going to be a gloriously sarcastic piece that I would find hilarious even if no-one else did. I was supposed to publish it on Saturday morning.

But then Saturday morning happened, and somehow I couldn’t find the ability to press ‘publish’.

I, like many others, woke up on Saturday morning to read about what had happened on Friday night. To read that over 400 people were dead or injured through no fault of their own other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I woke up to read that once again, we were a country in mourning. I woke up to read that we, as a European nation, were under attack again.

After pouring through news articles and moment by moment reports, I then scrolled through my social media feeds, which were almost exclusively dedicated to the very news I had been reading. I saw my friend’s sadness and shock. I saw their fear and worry. I saw their promises of solidarity to Paris and I saw their Facebook profiles with filters of the French flag. And then I saw it. Amongst those that were desperate to help and desperate to show their support to the victims, I saw it.

I saw the hate.

I saw the people who were declaring war and promising to ‘get them all out’. People belittling and mocking a whole group of individuals and reducing their beliefs to nothing but filth. I saw hundreds of people who were no longer being quiet in their racism, they were screaming it. People banning all Muslims from their businesses because of their relation to Islamic state, and people comparing Muslims to the dangerous breeds of dog. I actually read someone use the logic that like Pitbulls, only a small minority bite but we should be wary of the whole ‘breed’.

My husband showed me a post that had appeared on his Newsfeed. There was an image of a Qur’an being burned, with the quote ‘Let’s see who has the Balls to share this!’ No, I won’t be sharing that image. But it isn’t because I ‘don’t have the balls’. It’s because I’m not a complete prick.

Now don’t get me wrong, I get it. I get that you’re frightened and worried and you want to be able to blame someone. I get that you want the be able to easily identify who you should be afraid of. I get that all the people who you are told to hate are all from the same segregation of people, and that the only representation you can see are the ‘bad ones’. I get it, I really do.

But how can you hate 3.5 billion people for the work of a few thousand?

When I think about the people you hate, I think about the smart and bright young man who used to work Saturdays in our local corner shop in Reading, who once helped me clean up after my two year old daughter was sick. Who leant her his jumper because we still needed to walk home and she was drenched through, and continued to be respectful to people who muttered that he was “probably a suicide bomber”. I think about the doctor who operated on my friend when she was in a car accident and saved her life even though people would claim he was one of those who would want to end it. I think about the hundreds of men and women who used to work hard for my husband and who were always so kind and polite to my family when we visited him in work. And most of all, I think about the little girl who played with mine at toddler group every week and her mum. The little girl, who played dolls with my little girl and gave her big hugs and sang Frozen songs with her. Who was so unbelievably beautiful, with shiny jet black hair and massive Disney eyes and an adorable laugh. I think about her Mum who wore a head dress but chatted to me about Masterchef and toddler tantrums and her husband’s awful dress sense like any other Mum. I think about how she had the same worries as I did: about when she should go back to work and whether her elder daughter was being good in school.

I don’t understand how someone can hate them. I don’t get how someone could look at that beautiful little girl who jumped in the ball-pit with my own little girl and shrieked with laughter and hate her.

When I think about those people, I don’t think about how much I’m supposed hate them. I think about how alone so many Muslims must feel though they’re surrounded by people. I think about how their people are being attacked almost constantly but no-one seems to care for them. I think about their families, their friends, or just their fellow Muslims, who are being slaughtered in their hundreds and rather than mourning for them, people blame them. As if it’s all their fault for daring to be born into a culture and follow a religion. For being held responsible for the work of less than 0.03% of them (yes, really).

I think how glad I am that I don’t get held responsible for every white woman that abuses her kids, and that I don’t need to worry about our car being set alight because several women in their twenties have killed their children. I’m thankful that my husband doesn’t get vilified for every white man that rapes a teenager. That all American teenagers aren’t held responsible for every nutter that charges into their local high school and open fires and that my family’s local church isn’t seen as a representative of the Klu Klux Klan.

But of course, “it’s not the same thing”, is it?

On Friday night, Paris was attacked by terrorists. What happened that night was horrific, and once again innocent people have lost their futures for a war they never started. For those attacks I blame The Islamic State. I blame the horrendous people behind those attacks and a messed-up Ideology that they’re doing it for some greater good, some God that would want them to hurt people for him. But I don’t blame Muslims. I don’t blame the young lad at my local shop, the doctor who saved my friend or the little girl who was friends with my toddler. Hating people will not stop terrorism. Blaming a whole religion will not stop IS. Please, don’t respond to this horror by hating people who don’t want this war any more than you do.

“Darkness can not drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate can not drive out hate, only love can do that”  (Martin Luther King).


The NHS cuts doctors nurses midwives medical emergency

Why I Hope My Doctor is Off Having a Cup of Tea (as seen on The Huffington Post. Yup, ACTUAL Huffpost!)

I recently wrote an article on the eight weeks I spent in the NHS, in the build up to having my tiny little Iris. It was the scariest time ever, and unfortunately I’m not very good at being funny when I talk about it! I was over the moon to find out that The Huffington Post wanted to publish it!

I’m so overwhelmed by the reaction I’ve received off the back of it from the amazing people in the NHS and their patients. Please, take a read, and share if you want, and as always I would love to know your thoughts on it!

Here it is….

The other day, I was in a hospital waiting room waiting for an ultrasound appointment. There was a couple next to me, and they were not happy. Apparently, as the whole waiting room were finding out: their doctor was running late. After sighing repeatedly, getting up to ask the receptionist about 14 times how long they would be and talking very loudly about how ‘f***ing useless [the medical staff] all are’, the man turned to me, as if somehow we were kindred spirits, and said “forty f***ing’ minutes late! You know full well they’re all just in there having a cup of tea or faffing about with paperwork. You can’t possibly be running forty minutes late at ten thirty in the morning.”

He looked at me and waited for me to agree with him and join in the ruthless slander on the NHS. I shrugged “Well, I certainly hope so” I said, before turning back to the seven year old copy of Heat I had found (did you know that Katie and Peter have split up?).

Realising that he had not found his new BFF, the man went back to moaning loudly to his disinterested girlfriend, and didn’t press me on whether I had just said what he thought I’d said. But I did say it, and I did hope it. I did hope that his doctor was off surfing Facebook or ‘faffing about’ with paperwork.

I’ll explain.

When I was 27 weeks pregnant with the youngest baby H, I was at a family party when I started bleeding. A lot. After screaming for my husband, both he and my Mum rushed me to hospital. I rang on the way, bordering on hysterical, and was told by a kind and efficient midwife to come straight to the delivery ward where they would be waiting for me. They were, and as I walked through the doors, a doctor and several midwives were there waiting, and rushed me in to triage without wasting a second. As I lay on the bed, crying and waiting to hear that we had lost our precious unborn baby, I was introduced to our doctor, Elizabeth, who immediately tried to find our daughter’s heartbeat. Within minutes someone had located a scanner and she was able to show us that she was still alive in there. In a ridiculous blur of activity, I was checked over, attached to a monitor and told a flurry of information that I didn’t hear a word of. All I did hear is that there was a large possibility that they were going to need to deliver that night. When a sudden extra gush of blood came, I was rushed in another room where I was then attached to a drip, and a number of other medical things that to this day I can’t remember what they all were. Within half an hour of stepping foot through the doors, on a Saturday night,I was introduced to a stream of medical professionals: an anaesthetist, someone from NICU, and more doctors and nurses. I couldn’t really take any of it in, but I knew our situation was dangerous and they were doing everything they could to keep me and my tiny baby safe. That same night I was given steroids for the baby’s lungs, magnesium to protect her brain, and was monitored non stop for 24 hours.

The NHS cuts doctors nurses midwives medical emergency

Long story short, they didn’t need to deliver that night. The bleeding stopped and it emerged that the baby was ok. We weren’t totally out of the woods, but for now we were going to be OK. I was kept in for five days, three of which I was on 24 hour monitoring, with a midwife in our room at nearly all times and checks being done hourly. After six days, I was allowed to leave. A bit shaken up, but OK. We were told that no-one could be sure whether it would happen again. I would need to go for extra scans for the rest of my pregnancy to monitor the baby and I, but potentially that could be the end of it until we delivered.

It wasn’t. Two weeks later I bled again, luckily much lighter, but it still called for another three day admission. I was let out, only to be back in two days later, and so it continued. In total I was admitted and let out again seven times.

During our multiple stays in there, we were treated by a steady stream of doctors, midwives and care assistants. When my husband wasn’t there when I was taken in on our third bleed, one of the midwives didn’t go for her tea break and held my hand whilst a doctor checked me over. I was allocated a consultant, a very cool German, Boris Johnson-esque man who was straight talking but made me laugh. He explained that the reason they weren’t delivering was because our baby was safe, and showed no signs of being affected by all of it, so for now she was safer inside me than out. Every time I was admitted, he would come and see me several times to see how I was doing. No matter how many people needed him, and how busy he was, he would come and see me.

The NHS cuts doctors nurses midwives medical emergency

On the fifth (perhaps, who knows at this point) admission, the bleed that had led me to be in there again had been heavy, and I was starting to lose faith. I started telling myself that no matter they were saying, our baby was not going to be OK. No one could bleed this much and still be ok. I felt like shit, and I was on the verge of totally falling apart. One of the doctors in my consultant’s team, Eli, came in just doing the normal rounds that they did every day. I don’t know whether she just is like this to everyone, or whether she could see I wasn’t handling it so well anymore. But instead of the usual two minute run through of what was going on, the same polite smile and then leave, she stayed for ages and told me things were going to be OK. She explained why the baby really was safer inside, and what was going to happen. She stayed and answered a thousand questions and didn’t leave until I was done. She didn’t tell me that she had a million more important things to do and that I was wasting her time.

When it was decided that I would eventually deliver, at 35 weeks, My midwife spent her break finding me ice because I kept saying how much I needed it. Eli, the same doctor as before, supervised the whole thing and came in throughout my labour to check if I was doing OK because she knew I wasn’t. When my waters had to be broken and it was uncertain whether I would start to bleed again and need an emergency section, a team of specialists were outside our hospital room to jump into action just in case.

The NHS cuts doctors nurses midwives medical emergency

Here’s the thing: none of those people ‘had the time’. When I came in, bleeding and terrified at 27 weeks, no doctors or midwives would have been scheduled on purely to keep my baby alive. As a result of preventing me from bleeding to death, another patient was probably kept waiting for Elizabeth. Somebody’s scheduled C-Section was probably held up whilst it was determined whether my 27 week old foetus needed to be delivered. No midwives would have been timetabled to stay at my bedside constantly to make sure things didn’t go downhill. When I was not holding it together, Eli probably didn’t have the time to sit and answer a thousand of my irrational questions. Someone was probably rude to her as a result of being kept waiting because of me. Someone was kept waiting because my consultant was making the decision that delivering my baby was the safest way of making sure she survived.

Since talking to other people about my time in NHS, I have been inundated with stories of the same nature. My friend went for a scan on her twins to be told one had passed away. Her sonographer stayed with her for 45 minutes while she cried and waited to be told by a doctor what was going to happen. Her appointment would have been scheduled to be 15 minutes long. A client of mine, who had lost a baby previously, told me how her community midwife cancelled everything when she went in to labour early when her husband was overseas with the military and had no-one there with her. When another friend was told she had cancer, her GP didn’t tell her that her ten minutes was up and she needed to stop crying and leave his office so that his next patient wasn’t kept waiting.

I am certainly no expert on the NHS, and I have no valid information when it comes to budget cuts. I know the increasing number of cuts are bad, and I know patients are missing out because of it. I know Jeremy Hunt is trying to blame much of the failings on all those ‘lazy, greedy doctors’. Whilst I know the latter to be mostly bollocks, I don’t know enough about the goings on in UK hospitals to have any real opinion on any of that side of it. But what I do know, is that when me and my tiny offspring needed them, they were there for us. Yes, there were times I was kept waiting. There were times I was told someone would be there in the morning and I didn’t see them until the evening. But when we needed them, they were there. And as a result, my baby is here now and I will never stop being thankful for them.

The NHS cuts doctors nurses midwives medical emergency

So now, whenever I’m kept waiting, I hope to god that its because my doctor is off playing solitaire or washing his Mercedes. I hope that they’re running late because they’re surfing Facebook and drinking coffee.

The alternative- and lets face it, the truth- is that someone needs them at that moment and they can’t get away. The chances are they’re having to deal with something that they can’t get away from and they can’t just walk out of because they’re running late. They don’t have the option to deal with it next week because they have better things to do right now. People’s lives don’t wait.

How much more convenient is it to think, as my dear friend from the waiting room said, that those ‘lazy, useless doctors’ are wasting his time ‘faffing about’.

I hope they are.

If those doctors and nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants are off wasting time doing paperwork and chatting, it means that they aren’t helping another person who’s life is falling apart, and that perhaps somewhere, someone like me is absolutely terrified and facing the possibility that they’re about to lose their perfect little baby.



Siblings are Awful but Awesome and You’re Probably Lucky to Have Them

On Sunday morning, my husband and I were laying in bed, having a lie in. It was 8am and the room was warm, the bed was comfy, we had nice cups of coffee on the bedside tables, and all you could hear was the birds outside, the rumble of the heating turning on, and our two daughters screaming bloody murder at each other.

Me: *sighs* “I think the children may be battering each other”
Mr H: “Yes…….. But at least they’re finally occupying themselves.…”

In the last few months, our children have started to fall out on very regular basis. Until this point, middle sprog had been young enough to accept everything that the eldest said as gospel, and would do and say whatever she was asked. She was like a teeny tiny employee of a very bossy ginger girl, and would answer every one of her boss’s requests with “Otay!” .


However, in the last few months middle child has started to assert herself a little more, and has learnt that she can and will say no. In fact some days that’s all she says. She does not automatically share because she has been told to, she will not do her sister’s bidding, and in fact she is going to continuously annoy her eldest sister by wanting whatever she has in her hand. Eldest sprog is becoming less and less keen on her younger sister as a result. They aren’t too bad, only minor assaults on a daily basis at the moment, but I’m fairly confident that the next few years will see an increase in such activities.

It’s led me to thinking about what I’ve brought my children into the world to endure. We have three daughters and my husband has two sons from a previous relationship, so each of my girls have two full time sisters and two part time brothers. Along with being a sibling is a world of sharing, enduring, coping and accepting. Both my husband and I have three siblings each, so we know all too well about what this is like, and as they say: fore-warned is pre-armed, so I want my kids to know what they’re in for growing up with siblings.

As I said, I’m one of four. Here we are. We are such a photogenic family. I’m the one with the sexy wet-look ponytail and side fringe combo. Apparently none of us had eyes growing up either.

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Whilst on many occasions I lamented the fact that I was a sibling, my life would be unrecognisable if I wasn’t.

I was three when my mum was first diagnosed. Everyone seemed quite happy about it, and seemed to expect me to share the same joy. In contrast, I couldn’t quite understand why I should be happy that my mother was carrying the growth and there was little i could do about it. Nonetheless, after about six months of being told of mum’s ‘condition’, my sister arrived and was immediately fairly popular amongst our friends and family. I couldn’t quite understand why, she was a tiny little baby piglet with a pudgy face who made far too much noise. And no-one was interested in me half as much anymore, thanks to that cute little ball of uselessness.

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In her first few years, I attempted on several occasions to murder her.

As a one year old, Becca was crying in her highchair but no one could understand why. When Mum went off to the toilet, I realised what it was and tried to rectify the problem immediately. I was very pleased with myself and thought that my parents would be overjoyed that their four year old was so clever. Unfortunately, my parents weren’t quite so pleased that I was trying to feed my baby sister Calpol and removed the bottle from me immediately.

That same year, we were in a supermarket and that same attention stealing sister had also become the trolley-seat stealing sister. Not impressed that I was being forced to walk around the weekly shop, I took an opportunity when my mother wasn’t looking and clambered into the back of the trolley. For this I was told off, banned from ever standing near the trolley and reminded about the said incident for the next decade.

I may have missed out a tiny bit in the middle, where the trolley flipped over and Becca spent an evening in A&E with suspected concussion.

Somehow, despite this and several other manslaughter attempts, my sister lived and was soon joined by another sibling, a brother who had a big head and google eyes. I quite liked him however, and he managed to have a fairly uneventful and assault-free childhood. When I was twelve and my younger siblings were nine and seven, our parents then introduced our failed contraceptive surprise littlest brother Callum. It was then that my parents decided that their family was complete*.

*my mother forced my father to be sterilised or else they were moving into separate rooms.

If my parents hadn’t been quite so fertile, there are several things in my life that would be very, very different.

siblings funny blog

Sometimes you can be too attractive as family. The Beckhams had nothing on us.

Without my sister, there would have been no-one to play the most amazing pranks on. From the time I convinced her it was a weekday and she needed to go to school, to the time I told her that my parents were putting her up for adoption because she was too naughty, to the time I told her that the mole on her chest was alive, she provided me with hours of entertainment. The best was when I was eleven and convinced her that she had leprosy, and not heat rash. Oh how she freaked out! When my Dad joined in and told her that she would have to go into isolation for a month, that was just an added unexpected little bonus. The greatest thing is: when its your sibling, it’s not bullying! Its just ‘sibling rivalry’ and when they dare to tell on you, you just shout an equal amount of accusations and soon your Mum is all “Oh will you two just get along?!”. Totally got away with it.

Without my brother Christopher, my sister and I would have had no-one to dress up. We loved making him our little doll, and as a placid, shy little boy: he was always more than happy to be put in little dresses, our clothes, my mum’s make-up, and sing Spice Girls songs in his tiny little high pitched voice. On that note, without siblings, you’d have no-one to have constant reminders of your fashion faux-pa’s and have photographic proof, like this.

IMG_3654 funny blog

Without my sister, there would have been no-one to share clothes with.Or totally match. Although that said, sharing clothes would have been far more fun if our parents didn’t buy us clothes like this.


Note to my eldest: If you don’t want to share clothes with your sister, just get a bit fat. Or have god-awful dress sense.

When I think about it, even now as a twenty seven year old woman and mother, my life would be very different without my younger sister in particular. She and I are so different: much like my two daughters. For my sarcastic, quite intellectual and a little bit snobby persona, my sister is fun-loving, ever popular and goofy. She is surrounded by friends, I have a small but loyal handful. She has travelled, socialised and explored the world whereas I had a business at nineteen, a mortgage at twenty, and three children by twenty seven. We are polar opposites. But yet it somehow works. We argue like cat and dog in the morning and are friends again by afternoon. I agree with very little that she says: she has learnt to accept that I am always right. She has called me a ‘asshole-faced twat’ one day (she’s never been good at insults) but I would still drop everything to help her the next.

sisters funny blog

We were different in many ways, none more so than in our ability to tan.

As teenagers we came to blows on a daily basis. She would always stealing my hair mascara; she would tell on me for everything; and she BROKE MY SPICEWORLD CD (actually I still haven’t forgiven you for that).But yet when she was being bullied at school, I almost got suspended because I responded to the graffiti on the toilet wall about her (by graffiti-ing a threatening response to the bully. What can I say? I didn’t chose the thug life, the thug life chose me..).

Because I guess that’s what being a sibling is about. Its about having someone who you can shout abuse at but would head-butt anybody who does the same to them. Its about having someone to commit minor assault on but still let them creep into your bed to sleep the same night. It’s about having someone to share therapy with over the horrific haircuts and outfits that your mother coerced you into.


If my mother hadn’t given birth to that little chimp, my girls wouldn’t have their aunty who buys them horrifically loud and oversized toys that their mum would never agree to buy them, and takes them on day-trips where they could literally do and have whatever they want. If my parents has stopped at two then they wouldn’t have been taught a wonderful arrangement of stupid catchphrases by their uncle (“Keep your boots on baby, baby” . Its weird when a two year old says it to total strangers). If they hadn’t accidentally got pregnant on the pill then the girls wouldn’t have their youngest uncle who always buys them sweets with his pocket money and lets them play silly games on his iPad that I would never allow.

So, my darling girls, as siblings you will be expected to get along with someone who may be totally different to you and that you may never have chosen to be friends with. You will be forced to share your stuff with someone even though the chances of them of breaking it is fairly high. You will have to be told on, shouted at, and fought with by someone who’s existence you had no say on. But it isn’t all bad. Your life will have its benefits as a result. And as that saying goes, ‘Because I have a sister, I will always have a person to ruthlessly mock and force to my bidding friend’….

sisters beautiful portrait blog

Photo created by me. Pose created by bribery and Medised (just kidding).

Thanks for reading again! If you want hear more of my ridiculous ramblings, please come and like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Oh I’m a bit needy, really…

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I also get very happy when lovely people share my posts, it makes me feel popular and it’s definitely more interesting than fake memes of Marilyn Monroe and pictures of people’s dinner…. (Unless you’re Jamie Oliver in which case your dinners probably look delicious and are much more interesting than my posts.)

I Bet Emmeline Pankhurst Was a Pain the Arse as a Child (and the truth about having a strong-willed daughter)

My eldest is awesome. She really is. She’s funny, clever and loving. The day she was born was one of the best in my life, and I still get the same buzz every time I look at her. I can not imagine my life without her, I really, really can’t.

But my god she’s bloody hard work.


For every day that I could burst with pride, there’s a day I’d like to put her in a straight jacket in the corner whilst I drown myself in gin.

It’s all my fault. I was determined upon the arrival of said daughter that as she grew up, I would be straight talking and honest with her, and in return would teach her to be honest and open. I wanted her to make her own mind up about things and I didn’t want her to grow up arrogantly thinking that everything she does or will ever do is perfect. I didn’t want her ever to be afraid of asking questions or to question the world around her. I didn’t want her to grow up in a world where she feels that she needs to accept something even if she thinks its wrong, just because someone told her so.

I’ve created a monster.

I take it all back. I do want her to accept things because I TOLD HER SO. I do want her to keep her mouth shut when people ask her opinion on things. I do wish she would be more fearful of asking questions. WHAT WAS  I THINKING???

I bet Emmeline Pankhurst was a pain in the arse as a child.

I bet that when her mother told her it was time to go for the bath, she too faced a million well reasoned points as to why she didn’t need to go in the bath. I bet when she was told to get in to her school uniform, she protested that her uniform was demoralising and that what she really wanted to wear was her tiny suffragettes outfit. I wonder if strangers told her mother “Oh you’ve got a feisty one there!” (read:why is your daughter such an argumentative little git?). I wonder if her mother’s friends reassured her that little Emmeline was ‘just strong willed’?

And I reckon, if she were alive today, she would have told her aunty that no, she wasn’t going to wear some pretty ballet shoes when she was the bridesmaid at her wedding, because those shoes are girly and rubbish and she was instead going to wear green converse. Or wellies.

The latter is just one of the ways my tiny little independent woman has asserted her authority over our household. She argues with everything. No, I mean, everything. You give her something she doesn’t want. She argues about it. You give her something she wants: She argues about it. I need to explain myself over every request to her. Only once she is satisfied with my answer will she consider doing it. In addition, even the stuff she does do, I get an answer for. I’m not kidding.


This conversation actually happened:

Me: “Darling, don’t scoot too close to the road!”

Sprog 1: “why?”

Me: “Because you might get run over. I want you to be safe.”

Sprog 1: “Oh Mummy. Why are you so obsessed with me being safe all the time? You’re holding me back in life! it’s ridiculous….”

My husband came home from work one night to be told that she had had a “really stressful day” because “Mummy is being completely unreasonable, and expecting [her] to be a SLAVE.” I explained that telling her to tidy up her own mess is not slavery, and that maybe she could explain to Daddy why all of her belongings were now on her bedroom floor. Without saying a word to me, she looked at my husband, nodded her head in my direction- said, “You see Daddy. She’s been like this all day.”

She has so much confidence it’s terrifying. She is not afraid to talk to anyone about anything, or question anyone about anything.

For example, I recently gave birth to our youngest daughter. The run up to her birth was far from smooth, and unfortunately I suffered bleeding right up until she was eventually delivered at 35 weeks. But more on that another day. More unfortunately, my daughter had to witness this on a few occasions. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m really pleased that it doesn’t appear to have traumatised her for life. I’m glad that she can talk about it with people without being fearful. I truly am. But… I could really have done without her telling the POSTMAN that Mummy had been in hospital because she was bleeding out her bum all over daddy’s new car.


Yes, I’ve been very successful in creating a fearless and totally honest young lady.

The honesty has been a problem. Again, I taught her this. But honesty needs to go only far really, doesn’t it? I mean, I don’t want her to lie. But when we go to a restaurant, and the chef comes out and asks how the food was, I wish I didn’t have to clench my bum cheeks and lower my head as I hear my daughter tell him, “It was ok, thank you. The gravy and vegetables were good, but the meat was a little bit dry and Daddy’s roast potatoes are a bit nicer.”


I could go on. I could go on for the next twenty blog entries about the situations my daughter has gotten us into inside five years. Yes, only five years. Two of which she couldn’t even talk. I wouldn’t be surprised if by time she reaches adulthood I am in an institution.

The big problem is, every time I think I really need to reign her in, she does something to prove why I wanted her to be like it in the first place. In school, the children love her because she will stand up for anyone. If someone has been left out, or is being picked on, she will be the first one to speak out. She doesn’t care if she will get in trouble, she will not see anyone overlooked unfairly. She will speak out against children twice her age if they’re being mean to her or to anyone else. I’m told by her teacher that when she saw a year six boy steal a ball from one of the other reception children, she went right up to the boy and would not give in until he returned the ball back to its owner: who was crying in the corner of the playground. I love that she is strong enough to do that.

I imagine a young Emmeline Pankhurst’s Mum despaired over her tiny daughter’s strong-willed determination at everything. I wonder if some days she wondered if she could handle another debate over the simplest of things.I wonder if there were days when she considered trying to get Emmeline to just stop being so opinionated.

But then, if she hadn’t, perhaps we wouldn’t have the vote. Perhaps if she had reigned in her daughter then she wouldn’t have been one of the most influential women of the last century. Perhaps, like Emmeline, my girl will grow up to achieve great things and influence whole hosts of people around her. (Or perhaps she’ll just be arrested for being a menace to society…)

I know her disposition will help my daughter to become a successful adult. I know it will mean that she will stand out from the crowd, and she will be determined to follow things through. I know, without any reasonable doubt, that what makes her a difficult child will make her an amazing, honest and successful adult.

Let’s just hope we both survive until then.


I write more about my little mentallist, as well as many other crazy ramblings on my Facebook page, you should take a look. You know, if you want. Whatevs. (Oh please like it…..)

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Chatting Up Mums…(and why it could be the best thing you’ve ever done)

It’s a weird kind of time for me. I’m currently in the process of moving to our fifth location inside four years. For the duration of our marriage, my husband’s work has led to us repeatedly moving around. This time, I’m told, should be the last move for a while. but I’m not as scared as I used to be, and this move doesn’t fill me with the same trepidation as in the past.

For most people, you reach adulthood with a nice little collection of friends that you’ve collected over time. You don’t ever recall actively getting those friends, but accumulated a random bunch of people that in some way or another have something in common with you. This may be the same school, children of the same age or a mutual love of Noel Edmunds (note to self: no-one shares that with you). At least, this was how my life was by the time I reached my twenties. There was no point in any of the relationships with any of my friends that I could remember asking ‘will you be my friend?’ in the manner of a five year old on holiday to another five year old. I couldn’t recall at what point our friendship status had been confirmed, only that at some point they had not been in my life but that now they were. Because like most people, some of my chums had been gained through school; others through various work places; and some- because I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of leaving my home town for university- from Uni. When I had my first daughter, I made a few more friends through various baby centres. But effectively, my circe of lunatic peers had been gathered organically. And I was very happy with that arrangement.


When I was pregnant with my second daughter, we moved for the first time. It was only a fairly tame move: about an hour away from where I had always been, and I loved the location. It was the small town with a tiny village school and big rural scenery that I had always wanted for my family. It was perfect. Except for one thing: I didn’t know anyone. My husband worked long hours, and I was about to be on my own with a newborn and our then three year old for the duration of the day. Every. Bloody. Day. When Sprog Two was eventually born, I suddenly felt very daunted by the realisation that I now had two children, five days a week with them, and no family or friends in close proximity. I was buggered.

Initially I really was. Every day would be a slow blur of getting up, staying in my pyjamas, washing and feeding the children, watching CBeebies, and doing some form of activity that filled the criteria of doing ‘something for the kids’: sticking many old leaves on paper or making buns that were at least 20% snot. When the eldest was in pre-school, that’s when things really got dull. I would spend hours watching Jeremy Kyle and Bargain Hunt and buying pointless things online (what do you mean the baby doesn’t need another hat that makes her look like wildlife? Screw you!). I would start projects that I was never going to finish (remind me to show you my range of half upcycled second hand furniture one day. Believe me, they were better before) and sit there thinking about depressed I was. What was worse, was that rather than all of this making me happier when my husband was home, I was angry at him for daring to abandon me. He would get home from to be presented with one of the children and then questioned on why he was ten minutes late.

Something needed to change. I needed to get a life.

My health visitor suggested I went to a local group that she ran. She didn’t tell me much about the group, other than the time and where it was. I turned up to find that it was a breastfeeding class. Women sitting in a circle and breastfeeding whilst discussing their nipples and the colour of baby’s poos. I was in hell. I’m sure you all know breastfeeding groups that are not at all like this, and are full of cool groovy mums that have no interest in discussing their discoloured nipples. But unfortunately, that was exactly the situation I had found myself in. I made a feeble excuse after fifteen minutes and left resigned to the fact I would never have friends again. I would eventually only know the company of children and hence would start talking in that weird ‘talking to young children’ voice like you’ve been possessed, and having sex fantasies of Mr Tumble.

That very same afternoon, I decided to take my sorry ass and my daughters to a cafe. I convince myself that my children and I love cafes. In reality, I spend an hour asking them to sit down and behave while they open twenty sugar sachets and smoosh cheese sandwiches in the chairs. There was another woman on her own across the room from me, with a little boy. She smiled at me as I pleaded with the three year old to stop ripping up napkins into tiny pieces and putting the bits into my tea.  I smiled back at her after I noticed that her two year old had put all of the cutlery he could find in her handbag. Worried about coming across as a bit weird, but more worried about drowning myself in the bath, alone and friendless, I invited her to come and sit with me. And she did! We got chatting: she told me that she had always worked full time and how none of her friends had kids so she didn’t know what to do with herself. I talked about my own move and how I was getting really bored. I told her about the breastfeeding class, and heard how she had been tricked in to going there too. She then told me about a different toddler group one that was full of normal people who wouldn’t dare to talk about their nipples. I liked the sound of it and agreed to go the following day. We exchanged numbers. It was official: I had pulled my first fellow mum.

I did go to that toddler group, and met another similarly bedraggled mum like me, who had gorgeous eight week old twin girls and a four year old boy, and admitted she was knackered and sometimes missed being at work so that she could go to the toilet without interruptions. I liked her a lot.

With my newfound confidence, I took another big step at the nursery playground. There was a group of mums who I had always seen talking to one another at the end of the day, but I had always stayed away. But today, I was going to be brave. I was going to take on multiple mums at once. I walked straight up and told them who’s mum I was, that I was new in town and asked them if there was any good places to take kids. They not only suggested a local play centre, two of them invited me with them to it the following day! I was getting good at this. Within a few weeks I was being invited to their houses for coffee, where I found that they too often wondered if their children were clinically insane and found the park mind-numbingly dull. They too worried about whether over-watching CBeebies was taking away their brain cells and wondered whether in a years time if they would be incapable of formulating a full sentence that didn’t rhyme.


Over those first few months, I played the field a little more, and most of the time it totally paid off. It turns out, there are loads of us. There are loads of other mums who are slowly going mad from the lack of adult company. I adore my kids, I really do, and I don’t want you for one second to think I appreciate their company. I love spending time with them, and lots of it. But sometimes, only spending time with them would be enough to drive you to gin (well more gin).

From nervous introductions and tentative playdates came genuine, meaningful conversations and hilarious coffee mornings. Polite texts soon became picture messages of my dog dressed up in ballet shoes with the caption ‘IS IT TOO EARLY FOR GIN?”. When my baby daughter had to have an operation my new friends were on hand to help with my eldest and bring me shopping. when she didn’t sleep for two weeks from teething, none of them judged me for going to school in yesterday’s clothes with sick in my hair. They assured me I did not like a swamp monster and was in fact hugely attractive.

Three years on, and all of the women I chatted up remain my close friends. One of my conquests was a fellow photographer who was on a photography forum with me, and mentioned on there that she lived close by. I could see from her picture that she also had a daughter, so I sent her a message and said that if she ever fancied going for a coffee with her daughter to chat about camera lenses and toddler tantrums then let me know. She did, and now she is one of my very best friends who sends me messages like this:

image2 image1

Putting yourself out there with people is terrifying, particularly when you’re the new girl, but I would urge you to DO IT. There will of course be people who won’t be in the slightest bit interested in your friendship, but screw them! They’ll never know what they were missing. But like me, you may well find some awesome people who are feeling just as daunted and just as lonely, and may well change your life.

PS. After posting this entry, I received a recommendation to check out the website Mummy Social, and oh my god it’s AWESOME!! It’s a new ‘dating site’ for mums, where you can sign up to find other parents in your area. Please check it out, you may find your new chums for life.

PPS…. if you like any of my blog entries, please click on the ‘share’ buttons below. It means others may actually read it, and you may win a new car!*

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I can’t Sew for S**t (and more of my parenting fails)

The Twinkle Diaries

When I was a little girl, I, like many others, was in The Brownies. Now, if you too were ever a young girl in the Brownies, you’ll remember how you had to earn badges by doing a range of ridiculous tasks: like demonstrating that you could lay the table, or forcing your grandmother to let you ‘assist’ her (she was only in her fifties at the time, and didn’t really need my assistance truth be told). You may also, like me, have had to attend a church service once month as part of your role in the Brownies, where you were made to parade down the aisle in your uniform with a flag singing about something (what would we have been singing about? God perhaps, it was in a church after all). Before we were allowed to do this, our Brownie leader would inspect us all and ensure that our uniform was correct and all of our badges had been sewn on. Unfortunately for me, my mum couldn’t sew. I don’t think she even owned a sewing kit. So when one late Saturday night we realised that I was due for my church procession the next day, panic ensued that my badges had not been sewn on and it was too late to find someone to do it.

“Leave it with me” my mum had said, and I trotted off to bed safe in the knowledge that my mother would keep to her word and ensure my badges were all intact the following day.

Which is precisely why, at 10.30 the next morning, I was the 8 year old whose badge was peeling off as she walked through the church, because the pritt stick had started to wear off.

Two decades on, and I too do not possess the ability to sew. I’ve tried, I really have, but I am incapable of doing it. When it was my eldest’s Sport’s day, her team badge was applied using ‘No More Nails’. It stayed on though, and true to their word, I didn’t need to use any nails.

In fact, I don’t possess the ability to do lots of ‘proper mum’ stuff.

I had kind of thought that as soon as I got pregnant, ‘mum’ things would just magically appear in my brain. But they bloody didn’t.  So on top of being unable to sew; I can’t iron very well. I can’t knit. I can’t do crafts. I can not garden. My daughter needed to grow a sunflower in school and I killed it. I managed to kill a tomato plant that was ALREADY GROWN in our last house. I can’t do fishtail plaits, I can barely put the sprogs’ hair into decent ponytails. As a result my kids spend most of their days going to school/pre-school like they’ve got there on horseback. I try, I really do. But somehow I can not muster the ability to be good at any of it.

In my defence, this is after school. But sadly, it didn't look much better before.

In my defence, this is after school. But sadly, it didn’t look much better before.

I try to bake. My lord, do I try at that one. It always starts off ok. I have visions of me as a young Mary Berry, making baked creations that all of my friends and family will marvel over. I can just about make a cake, or cupcakes, or biscuits. They look fine. They taste adequate. But if I dare to decorate them, then we’re really screwed.  I made my eldest a Supergirl cake, that ended up costing me about £70 in ingredients to try and rectify and that my husband refused to let me serve because it was SO dreadful. I told my friends about said cake, and was reassured that it ‘couldn’t be that bad’. I showed them. It was that bad. I reduced my friend Clair to tears of laughter.

My mum couldn’t do these things either. This was my third birthday cake. Why she had painted the ‘floor’ with ear wax I’ll never know.


I think we all know those bears ain’t sleeping…

She used to insist on making our family’s cakes for every event as well. Can you remember back in the nineties, when we wore hair scrunchies and you couldn’t buy ready made cakes in shops?? ME NEITHER. Which leads me to think that either she actually thought her creations were special, or that she has some sick sense of humour that got off on watching her family force themselves to eat these monstrocities.


At least I learnt quickly that my abilities do not stretch to cake decoration. When was I supposed to learn these skills? Am I the only one? Will my children be psychologically  damaged from the lack of well hemmed skirts?

I try to take solace in the fact that I can do other things. Whilst I somehow missed the class at school where I learned how to be the perfect storybook mother and wife, I had other skills that benefited their young lives. Like, I’m awesome at reading bedtime stories. Seriously, I deserve an oscar for some of my performances. Even those bastard Topsy and Tim books can be made semi interesting by my huge range of accents (and yes, Vinda was always Welsh). Also, I can cook. Better than that, I can cook with no ingredients in the cupboard. My husband says he has never met someone who can make a meal out of a parsnip, half a pack of bacon and a pack of noodles. I’m a pretty good driver. I can improvise a song at the drop of a hat and make it rhyme. I know the lyrics to almost every Disney song.

So that’s my hope anyway. I’m hoping that when my girls reflect on their childhood, they’ll ignore their shop bought birthday cakes and lack of home grown suedes, and remember that their mum could recite the Gruffalo better than anyone else.

They’ll have to appreciate those things, because- I suspect- their own children will be the third generation that will never know the pure joys of a well ironed pillow case.

Twinkly Tuesday

Hello! is it me you’re looking for?….

This is my first proper entry. Well ok, its technically my second, but the first was merely telling you that I’m now blogging, which isn’t really an entry at all, more like a pre-curser to a blog entry. If it was a road sign it would be in the same guise as the one saying ‘ROAD CLOSED AHEAD’. Except those signs are rubbish; because they never say which road, and there may be multiple roads ahead so you just think ‘ah fuck it, I’ll keep going because it probably isn’t my road’, and then you get to it and it bloody is your road, you know because now there’s a sign saying ‘ROAD CLOSED’ but now you’re buggered because it’s only a one lane road and you have no way of turning around so you’re going to have to reverse all the way down the road you came. But it’s actually worse than that, because someone else saw you going down the road and thought you must know that the road you both needed wasn’t closed so followed you and now you’re both stuck trying to reverse down a one lane road without crashing into each other.

1. I sometimes go off topic.

I was recently wedding dress shopping with two of my closest friends, both English teachers, and afterwards they both agreed that I probably have ADHD. They weren’t joking, before you start telling me that ADHD is a real condition and my mocking it makes me and my friends terrible people. Of course, it didn’t exist when I was at school. It had a different name back then. If you had ‘ADHD’ you were known as ‘A Little Shit’.

Not that I was particularly, in fact I was pretty good at school, and always one of the top achievers. But I do struggle to pay attention, and I do get distracted easily. Like right now, I’m writing this but I’m thinking about whether green bean and plum would be a nice chutney combination (EDITED: It does! I made some and its delicious, you should try it). At the wedding dress shop, I had sat nicely, talked politely and only eaten one (ok two) of the chocolate eclairs on offer. When my friend came out looking totally gorgeous, I told her so and tried to give her honest and sincere feedback about each and every dress. I was exemplary as wedding dress invitee. What my friends are referring to would be when I also tried to talk my friend into claiming she wanted to use one of the curtain tiebacks as a necklace; when I played Boyzone’s ‘No Matter What’ to make her imagine she was walking down the aisle, when I suggested that she practices going to the toilet so she could deem if it would be possible, and when I put on an Irish Accent and told “Ah, top o’ the mornin’ , ya looks a picture so’s ya do. Ah ye looks grand…”  so that she could pretend I was her fiancé. I don’t know if you’d call it ADHD, but I’m not a very good grown up.

2. I swear too much.

I try not to, I really do. My friend once told me she finds it particularly shocking that I swear a lot, because I’m fairly well spoken and border on being a bit snobby. I say ‘Bahth and ‘Grahss’, and I pronounce my ‘th’s and I don’t abbreviate words a huge amount. They say that swearing is a way of covering up a limited vocabulary, but I can assure you that my vocabulary is plentiful, I just think few words are as pertinent and befitting and a casually dropped in a good ‘fuck’ now again. Although, fellow users of bad language: its all about class. Overuse can be offputting in a person. Just drop in a nice swear when people least expect it and say it nicely, and be very careful with the C- word. See, this blog is going to be educational too!

3. I have an unhealthy obsession with food.

People often say ‘Oh I just love my food’ as a pre-curser to why they are overweight. Often- although not always- this doesn’t actually mean they love food. It means they love to eat bad food. I have heard many people tell me that they love food, only to find out that they actually have an appallingly limited of foods that they will actually eat, and all of those on the list are rubbish. I have been told on many, many occasions that I can’t love food because I am not fat. Incorrect. I actually love food. All food. I love buying food, I love trying new foods, I love eating food. I love thinking about cooking food. I love thinking about eating food. I have a particular penchant for meat and cheese. Often together. I hate processed food. Every parent has something that they are non-moving and a total knob about. For me it is food. I have spent my children’s entire life getting them to cook and eat proper food. my children have a very good idea of what real food tastes like. This is why, perhaps, my five year old’s favourite meal is smoked salmon, with humus and ratatouille. I didn’t say she has the classiest palate…

4. I have an deep appreciation of Boris Jonson.

No explanation needed. The man is the full package.

I was told as a child to take care when letting people see the crazy. Let it out for small increments of time, and only to people that will appreciate it, that’s what I was told. Coincidently, I was given that same advice about other things too. So that’s all the crazy I’m going to let out right now.

Despite my personality, I have managed to convince someone to marry me (I’m as surprised about that as you). He is nothing like me at all, in fact is very logical and clever and level headed, and very rarely throws temper tantrums about not being able to find matching shoes (which I have never done…). Here he is dangling one of the children as a form of punishment.


Together we have three children.

My five year old, who is very clever and I’m repeatedly told ‘confident and assertive’. This is other people’s nice way of telling me that she is both bossy and gobby. She wants to be a doctor or a seal trainer, neither seems to sit more favourably to the other.


My two year old, who is incredibly cute and spends much of her days following me around saying ‘tuddle me mummy!’. She had developed a penchant for drawing on everything, and eats like a 20 stone squaddie. She also gets herself dressed at least five times a day, and not always in her own clothes.


My brand new baby, who was five weeks early and is so far unable to really assert her personality other than her latent dislike of sleeping at night. Hobbies include making lamb noises, pooing a lot and partying through the night. Here she is during the day…


We also have a dog, Lionel ‘Moo’ Messi. He is as ridiculous as he is magnificent. I bought him as my protection dog, when we lived in a big farm house miles away from civilisation. Unfortunately, he is afraid of bugs and seems oblivious to the world around him.  He spends much of his time in costume, which he never objects to.


So thats’ me. Keep reading to be educated, enlightened, enthralled and amazed.

I should warn you, I also exaggerate somewhat.

Bloody nora, I’m Blogging…

Seven months ago, I found out that I was very unexpectedly expecting my third child. I have two of the little chimps already, and the impending arrival of a third was met with some trepidation to say the least. After freaking out for a few months, we started the necessary preparations for the arrival of Sprog 3.

In my case, this meant starting off by buying a teeny tiny pair of converse. It’s all about priorities.


As a self employed photographer, I never took much leave after I had my first two. Firstly, I wasn’t aware (until recently) that if you’re self employed you are even eligible for maternity pay. Secondly, at the time we simply couldn’t afford it, with my job being so seasonal. I’m lucky that even when I work full time I can work from home, and most of the time I can organise my time into having only a couple of days away from the children.

This time, we decided that with there soon to be three children, I should probably take some proper time off.

Determined not to waste my upcoming leave, I made a plan of things to do whilst I was having some time off. Below is said list.


The first two were completed fairly quickly. I found out that biscotti are strange little Italian biscuits. I made some and they looked like this.

Added a filter. Naturally. Almost makes them look edible.

Added a filter. Naturally. Almost makes them look edible.

My third point didn’t go so well either. I started sorting out our belongings in an organised and timely manner, posting pictures of ironed and well presented children’s clothes on to Facebook and eBay. this was quite time consuming, so I stopped ironing and started just presenting the clothes un-ironed and presented on the floor. this still took too much time, so I then posted a picture of of the clothes in a bin bag with the caption ‘Please take my crap, anyone??’ Weirdly, my attempts at selling our belongings was taking too much time and was ridiculously boring. So I just gave it all to the charity shop. that’s so me, just a giving kind of gal.

So that’s most of my list done. Which now means I have to finally get around to plucking up the courage to put my personal blog out there. Why am I finding it so daunting? I’ve been running a fairly successful business for years; I have managed to convince some poor mug to marry me; I [we] own a home; I am semi-successfully raising three children (well one of them is only a few weeks old, it’s quite early to tell whether I’ve emotionally damaged her yet or not). I’ve been writing for years, why have I put off getting people to actually read it?


But unfortunately, even the biggest wimps in the world can’t ignore something if it on a list, so I’ve got to do it now. Hopefully no-one will be too mean to me. Hopefully other bloggers won’t turn on me and talk behind my back about how crap I am. Hopefully perfect wives and parents won’t send me hate mail about how I am not one of them. Although, there is very little chance of anyone being mean to me if no one reads it. OH GOD WHAT IF NO-ONE READS IT?  What if I write and write and write and no-one ever wants to read a single word I have written, and then I become obsessed with writing more and more, hoping one day to find out the secret behind being a super successful blogger who has people that read my work but never succeed and so spiral into a deep depression about why everyone hates me so much and then my husband leaves me and i can’t keep up the mortgage payments and my children and I all become homeless and I have to sell our dog to buy food? OH GOD WHAT IF NO-ONE READS IT?

I think I’ve set the tone for my blog.