Thursday, 10 November 2011

Lollipox and Poison

The world has gone completely mad. No, I’m not talking about the Eurozone crisis. I was reading the paper this afternoon over a bowl of soup and a roll, when two articles I read jumped out at me, slapped me round the face with their utter lunacy, and irritated me for the rest of the day.

Ridiculous Article Number 1
Some genius in America has come up with an idea to help parents who are keen for their precious little ones to catch chicken pox at an early age in the belief that it’s less serious when caught young. No, it’s not parties where people are invited to mingle with pox-ridden children in the hope that they catch it too - apparently these are already quite common place. No, it’s one giant American step further than that. She is selling ‘lollipox’ on the internet. Catchy name hey? Well these little beauties are certinaly ‘catchy’ – they’re  lollies that have been licked by a pox-infected minor. Yes, you heard me correctly. Oh and not only is she selling germ-covered lollies, she’s charging about £30 a pop!! Speechless!

Ridiculous Article Number 2
A certain lady who writes for a well-known paper has a column in which she regularly rants, raves and ridicules people. Today, she turned her wrath on women. Or more specifically, women who have the audacity to take maternity leave or have days off sick.  Firstly she vents about receiving an out of office reply with a maternity leave message with a list of alternative contacts. Then, she raves about some poor contact of hers who has been off unwell for a few days. Now, what really got my goat about this was that after explaining the scenario, she went on to say “I just don’t understand the lack of work ethic in young women today”. Er, hang on a sec, isn’t that a bit of a dramatic leap?? She then ends this poisonous article by concluding “if ever I employ a woman again, I’ll make jolly sure she’ll have already gone through the menopause”. Great, well that’s a wonderfully rational comment isn’t it? And so helpful for women everywhere who work their arses off every day competing with men in the workplace. Oh by the way,  did I mention that the journalist who wrote this recently admitted to trying to trick her partners into getting her pregnant when she was younger.  She failed. But maybe her articles would have been more pleasant had she succeeded.


Monday, 31 October 2011

Birthdays, Ageing and Rambling

Well hello there, it’s been a while hasn’t it. But listen it’s not you, it’s me. No really. You see it’s been busier than usual in our house recently; one step down from full-on chaos really. But what event could possibly have been more important than blogging I hear you cry. Well, it was Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper’s 3rd birthday last week. Yes, she’s 3 years old! Who can believe it? In my head I like to think I look young enough to have a sibling of 3 as opposed to a child of 3, but obviously I don’t - the signs that I’ve aged somewhat have become rather apparent recently:
1)      I haven’t been id’d whilst buying session-sized bottles of wine for years
2)     A white van slowed down to a stop next to me as I was loading the car and instead of wolf whistling, shouting out a cheeky comment or giving me a saucy wink,  the builder-type inside asked me where I got my clever swivel-child seat from ‘as the missus has knackered her back you see’
3)     When I stop frowning, my lines are still there
4)     I hear myself repeating phrases my mother used to say: “Have you washed your hands darling? You have. Ok,  well let me smell the soap on them then”
5)     I couldn’t hear what a friend was saying in a busy bar recently and found myself doing the ‘grandpa’ hand cup around the ear. Why do they have the music on so loudly in these places nowadays anyway?
6)     I use the word ‘nowadays’
7)     Flicking through a clothing catalogue, it wasn’t the chic wrap tops or sexy fitted dresses that excited me, it was the oh-so-cosy cashmere bed socks
8)     My knees click when I crouch down
And the final sign: I ramble off the point with ease and frequency. You see I started this post to tell you about Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper’s 3rd birthday – the wasp sting in the morning, the excitement of Legoland, the 3-day winter sick bug, the new bike, the lovely party etc but I appear to have wandered off into a list of the signs of ageing. Hey ho, I’ll have to tell you about the birthday another time. Until then…..


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Cheering on National Chocolate Week!

Hooray, yippee, it’s National Chocolate Week this week!!! Ha-ha, who knew such a glorious week existed? And how have I, a hardened chocoholic, never known about this before?? Now we are all aware of it, let’s do our very best to make up for the Monday we missed and scoff ourselves silly for the rest of this week.

In honour of this occasion, I have compiled a few thoughts on what life would be like if we did not have the wonder that is chocolate:

1)      Dunking biscuits would be significantly less satisfying

2)     We would never have a break, or be able to work, rest and play, or take it easy, and what would the Ambassador spoil us with?

3)     We’d have to suffer longer hangovers without the mighty Mars Bar at our side

4)     An 99 ice cream would just be a 98, or a 9 or a 1 or something

5)     They would be no Milk Tray man

6)     I would be insufferable (yes, I’m big enough to admit it)

7)     We women would lose our wonderful curves and we’d basically be hairless men with no bottoms or boobs to speak of

8)     We’d have nothing to bribe our children with

9)     Profiteroles would be rubbish

10)  So would Jaffa Cakes

So in summary, all hail the fabulous chocolate. Life is so much better with it around!


Monday, 26 September 2011

Ditch the Car and Bring on The Bike

No, I’ve not gone all green and save-the-worldy; I’ve got enough day-to-day concerns to be dealt with before I can worry about what may happen to the world if I keep using my secret stash of 100 watt light bulbs and having luxuriously deep baths. It’s just that I’ve fallen out of love with driving lately. I am a loud and proud Skoda driver (the Yeti, it’s ace!) but a couple of recent occurrences have taken away the fun of the open road.

1) I have now hit 9 penalty points on my licence for speeding. Oh come on, don’t get tut-tutty with me. All high-speed offences were conducted safely away from schools, zebra crossings and old ladies.

2) My car insurance went up ASTRONOMICALLY as a result. You’d have thought I’d just admitted to moonlighting as a get-away driver the amount they want me to pay.

3) I was half a minute longer than planned in a café in my small, local town and was slapped with a £50 parking fine (£25 if I send the money in the next 3 minutes). Whose bright idea was it to give parking wardens a bonus scheme??

4) When parking in a residential street recently for Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper’s swimming lesson, I had a run-in with the local busybody. Before I had even put the hand brake on, I was confronted by a furious old bat who had tweaked her net curtain as I arrived and scurried straight out. She banged on my window and told me that by parking there (in a perfectly legal spot), I was going to make it hard for her to turn into her drive (which, unless she drives a Challenger 2 tank was not clearly not true). Before I could even draw breath, she had promised to take photos and send them to the council. She was so aggressive that it got my hackles up, and I told her to take all the photos she desired and send them to the Prime Minister for all I cared, and then flounced off.

Where once I was foot-down and fancy free in my super speed machine, I am now driving like bloody Mary Poppins, keeping religiously to the speed limit, not daring to park in car parks, or on residential roads, or to overtake, or to even think about unwrapping a sweet whilst in the car for fear of what may happen. On a daily basis I have to put up with tail-gaters, light-flashers and flipping-me-the-finger-drivers as I cruise carefully at 30 miles per hour, hands on the wheel in the ten-to-two position as taught, and frankly I’ve had enough.  So, I’ve ditched the car and unearthed instead my rusty steed. I’ve removed the resident spiders, fitted the child seat, and am now a fully fledged cyclist (albeit not in Lycra). Yes, it’s 2 wheels for me from now on. Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper loves it, there is no way that I could ever be accused of speeding even going downhill and with a favourable wind behind me, and by next summer I’ll have a beach body to die for. Ting-ting!


Monday, 19 September 2011

Working Mum's Fantabulous Rent-A-Sibling Service

Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper fell in love last weekend. Friends came to stay with their adorable children Girl (aged 8) and Boy (aged 11) and within minutes she was totally smitten. She flirted with Boy, giggled with Girl, had a grass fight in the newly-mown field over the road and didn’t stop laughing all weekend. Never mind the 5-8 year age gap, they all had a ball. When it came to bedtime, Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper insisted on holding Girl’s hand whilst having her teeth brushed and it was Girl that was called upon for the last goodnight kiss.

Whilst this hero-worship was lovely to see, it also had an astounding side effect. From the time they arrived to the moment they left, Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper was a whole new girl. She was well-mannered, and didn’t fuss about putting on her coat/going to the loo/not having another biscuit. We had no tantrums, no tears, she truly was a girl transformed! If she had continued that behaviour, I would have been forced to change her name to Toddler-Ray-of-Sunshine! She was glorious. Now don’t get me wrong, she is lovely anyway, but there’s normally a toddler fuss at some point in the day. Not so last weekend. She couldn’t have behaved better; it was as if Super Nanny had arrived and waved her magic wand over her.

With the children all happily playing, we had the novelty of reading the papers all the way through uninterrupted, starting a conversation and not missing any of it, and drinking wine in the afternoon without grubby toddler fingers trying to dip in and taste some. Ah, I thought, if only she had older siblings our weekends would be like this all the time. And then came the light-bulb moment – Rent-A-Sibling. It’s genius! One family have bored school-agers and another family has testing toddlers. Mix and match and you’ve got the perfect scenario! You heard it hear first, Working Mum’s Fantabulous Rent-A-Sibling Service. What are you waiting for? Sign your children up now!


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Whisper Words of Wisdom

A child psychologist I met at a recent wedding told me that all a child really needs in life is self-confidence and the knowledge that they have a loving, stable home. No expensive education, posh holidays, funky gizmos and gadgets; as long as they have the top two, they will succeed and be happy as they grow and develop.

Fine, you say, I can give my child that. A loving family? Tick. But how do you really give your child unlimited confidence? Coo enthusiastically over their finger-paintings? Marvel at their play-dough prowess? Applaud wildly at their recitation of Incy Wincy spider? Will that work? Is it enough?

Well I’m not taking any chances. No, I’ve come up with another way. I plan to harness the power of sleep and positive messages. Now, I have to confess at this stage that I tried something similar for my A levels many moons ago with an old walkman and a recording of French vocab. It failed dismally. Still, it can do no harm to try.  So this is what I’m doing; every night when I go up to bed, I creep into Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper’s room, smooth her ruffled hair and whisper sweet nothings to her – how much she is loved, how special she is, how lucky we are to have her, what a fantastic mother she has (ahem!!)….. Anyway, the idea is that all this goodness will seep into the very core of her whilst she sleeps, and will help develop a healthy sense of self.

Will this work? Who knows! But I’ll keep you posted……


Thursday, 8 September 2011

Welcome, Welcome

Hello and welcome to misroc&babyroc and Officer Mummy. Very nice to see you here. Any tips on dealing with inquisitive toddlers greatly appreciated!! x

Monday, 5 September 2011

Questions, Questions and More Questions

Yes, we’ve hit that stage with Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper where every second sentence is a question. Honestly, she must average around 3,000 questions PER DAY, and every question gives you a little insight into the workings of her wonderful mind. Here are a few my recent favourites:

1)         “Mummy, what’s under the grass?”
            “ Soil, you know, what we plant the seeds in at the allotment”
            “What’s under the soil then?”
(Yikes, can’t remember, is it magma or something or is that just in films??). Says confidently:  “It’s the Earth’s core darling”
            “No Mummy, I think it’s a witch and a troll”

2)         “When I’m a big girl can I marry Daddy?”
            “No sweetheart, I’m already married to Daddy.”
            “Ok. I’ll have to marry Grandpa then”

3)         “Why is that man wearing a skirt” (said in very loud toddler voice)
            “It’s not a man it’s a woman with very nice short hair” (Excruciating!)

4)         Said in huge voice in hospital waiting room after ‘internal’ scan: “Mummy, why did you take your trousers off for that man?”
            Sniggers in the waiting room and a few sympathetic glances
            “Umm, because he wanted to see mummy’s tummy darling”

5)          “Daddy, how heavy is air?”

6)         “Mummy, why do ladybirds have spots?”
            “Umm, I’m not sure actually.”
            “Is it so they can match my tights?”




Morning All. Well the bad news, on firing up my computer this morning, is that I've discovered I didn't win the Euromillions on Friday. The good news though is that I have four new wonderful followers, so hello and welcome to Lynsey, MummyDichotomy, Phillipa and Topsy Toesy!


Thursday, 1 September 2011

A Warm Autumnal Welcome... my new follower Lillian. Hello there! x

Bring on Autumn....

The girls in the office were moaning today about the end of summer and the approach of Autumn. Well I, for one, am delighted that Autumn’s nearly here , so wrap up and enjoy my Autumn Love List:

1) Tights
Proper, thick, warm tights can work miracles and can turn unshaven, pasty, mottled legs into gorgeous, slim, supermodel pins. Magic!

2) Autumn Food
Goodbye skinny, virtuous salads and hello steaming pots of hearty casseroles and stews…..mmmm……

3) Sloe Gin
Wait until the first frost (which, based on the weather recently, won’t be too long) then pick loads of luscious sloes, bottle them up with plenty of gin and crack open a fine vintage bottle from a previous year for ‘quality control’ purposes

4) Bonfires
The crackle of flames, smoke on the breeze, hot mulled cider, holding hands with gloves on, fireworks, chunky scarves, warm kisses on cold cheeks. What’s not to love?

5) Crunchy Walks
Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper loves these – forest walks that take twice as long because there are just so many leaves to kick

So come on everyone, cheer up, put the suncream away and embrace Autumn!


Monday, 29 August 2011

Totally in Love with The National Trust

When we moved out to the country in 2007, Mr Working Mum suggested signing up for a joint National Trust membership. Far from accepting this as a practical and quite romantic gesture, I reacted by having a mini-meltdown - had I hit middle age already? Had I really left our vibrant London life for the plod of stately homes and plant shops? Was it all comfy shoes, angora jumpers and gardening programmes from now on?

When he pointed out that we would be entitled to a free cream tea when we joined I came round a bit, but was far from convinced.

Four years on and I am a true convert. In fact, they should sign me up to be an ambassador, because I LOVE the National Trust! We were at Waddesdon Manor today for a Bank Holiday outing and we had a fantastic time. With a woodland play area, ice cream kiosk, toy shop and sweet shop, Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper was in her element.  In my experience the National Trust cafés, without fail, serve the best cream teas around and most of the properties we have visited have been brilliantly equipped with masses of parking, clean loos, baby changing, play areas and places to eat.  The other thing I love are the room attendants that are stationed in the houses. They are so knowledgeable and passionate and they answer all the questions thrown at them, even toddler ones such as ‘why did they wee on their chairs?’ (Working Mum having tried to explain the concept of the commode).

If you’re not a member you’re missing a trick – great days out and the warm glow that comes from helping save some of the UK’s most amazing properties. What more could you want?


Sunday, 28 August 2011


Hello and welcome to my lovely new follower and friend, Sarah.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Working Mum’s Wonderful Canine Crèche

Doggie Daycare. Ever heard of it? Well nor had I until this weekend. We went to see friends who live in London with their two golden retrievers (their self-confessed surrogate children). Over dinner, conversation turned to the usual topic of how expensive things were nowadays. We must have sounded like a group of 80 year olds: “the price of chicken today is a scandal..… I remember when a can of Coke was 12p and polo mints were only 6p……we’ll be burning the floorboards to keep warm this winter with the electricity bills as they are….these children demanding the latest toys, when I was young you were lucky to have a finger puppet…..”.

London Clare then starts bemoaning the fact that daycare costs were her biggest expense after the mortgage. We start heartily joining in when I suddenly realise that she has no children.

            “Clare, you have no children what are you talking about?” I say tactfully.

            “The Doggie Daycare. It’s £25 per dog per day.”

“What? Are you mad?! What on Earth do they do for £25 a day?
Wash and blow-dry your pooch, hand-feed it organic titbits and teach it basic home skills such as emptying the washing machine??”

“Oh no, they just look after your dog for the day and give it a walk. They do collect and drop off though.”

            “They don’t even get fed there??!”

            “No, but we know they’re happy whilst we’re at work. It’s priceless really.”

“IT’S NOT PRICELESS -  it’s costing you around £6,000 a year PER DOG that’s £12,000 a year in total. You could buy a child for that!!!!”

Ok, perhaps not the best comment to make but we were a couple of bottles of wine down and I was honestly in shock. I mean, I’m a dog lover as much as the next person but someone is laughing all the way to the bank with that one. In fact, I’m considering starting up a franchise in my area.  Roll Up, Roll Up (those fifty pound notes) – Working Mum’s Wonderful Canine Crèche, coming soon…..


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

I went on a Voyage of Self Discovery and found a Control Freak

No, don’t panic, I haven’t gone on one of those dodgy retreats run by bearded-wonders where you all lie together in incense-infused bamboo shacks chanting positive mantras. Nor have I started visiting a floral-print-wearing ‘alternative therapist’ to discover my inner child. No, I went down a far simpler and far more honest route – I had a baby.

I’ve never been one to self-analyse. As Gloria Gaynor says “I am what I am” and I’ve bumbled along being me for thirty-odd years perfectly happily. But it seems I’ve been living with a massive character flaw that I’d never noticed before. I am a control freak. There, I said it. The scary thing is though, I genuinely didn’t have an inkling of this until I had a child. Suddenly I was barking out orders to Mr Working Mum about when feeding time was, how nappies should be changed, which outfits went together and so forth. Babysitters were (and still are) left with a full A4 side of instructions, timings, contact numbers, alternative contact numbers, and suggestions of what they themselves should have for supper. Two and a half years on and I’m still offering Mr Working Mum ‘advice’ on the bedtime routine which he has probably only done two hundred times. And yet, despite all of this, it took an incident with my own child for me to finally put two and two together and realise what everyone else probably already knew.

Last weekend I decided to do some baking with Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper. She’s watched me make things before and dipped her finger in here and there but I thought it about time that she pulled her own weight and started mucking in. It’s all so lovely in theory – mummy cooking with daughter, bonding over home-made gingerbread -but I swear it nearly caused a break down. Now, I like to weigh out all the ingredients before carefully mixing them together in a certain order. Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper had other ideas. She showed little regard for the scales, used the same spoon to alternate between each of the three spices, the scales and her mouth, and then started casually flinging bits of all the ingredients together. Worse was still to come.

Dough made and chilled, we got ready to roll and cut out our gingerbread men. Having already become a little distressed and tense over the haphazard creation of the dough, I decided to section off a piece and give Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper her own rolling pin so she could get creative. But even that wasn’t enough to stop me interfering. When cut, her gingerbread men looked like extras from Casualty. I told myself that it didn’t matter and that they would all taste the same, but the sight of them was driving me mad. I sent her off to wash her hands whilst I quickly re-rolled and re-cut them. Perfect men now made, the afternoon’s bonding session limped towards the decoration stage. But could I focus on my own men and calmly ignore the chaos next to me? What do you think? Three raisin eyes, not level, and 8 silver ball buttons scattered carelessly over their bodies was enough to tip me over the edge. On complimenting her on her work and letting her into the garden to play, I then had to dig the decorations off the poor squashed bodies and reform each and every one of them. It was around this stage that I realised I may have just a touch of the control freak about me.

Now that I’ve discovered this, I’m staggered that I’ve never spotted it before. Or maybe I never had it before I became a mother. It’s a mystery and something I’m sure I shall learn to live with. But one thing’s for sure, baking is strictly a Daddy and daughter activity from now on.


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Not Such A Domestic Goddess

What a disappointment. Well, an utter failure really. You see, today would have been my late mother’s birthday.  This is our first year without her so in order to fend off the blues, I decided to bake a Victoria Sponge to sort of celebrate her birthday. I was planning to share a small amount with Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper and Mr Working Mum, then polish the rest off myself. (I’m a firm believer in the healing powers of cake).

Well, I’ve just come back from the kitchen where the timer was alerting me to the readiness of my glorious sponge. I had been expecting to find a golden, fluffy triumph, ready to be adorned with lashings of raspberry jam and icing sugar, but the reality is sadly rather different. The only way to describe it is ‘sorry for itself’. It is a limp, apologetic, lop-sided pancake with a lump on one side. (That’s where all the baking powder ended up then). But what is so shameful about this, is that I can cook. I really can! I even did a 3 month full-time cooking course in my gap year, but my Achilles heel is, and has always been, the Victoria Sponge. I have never, not even once, made a successful one that looks like the pictures.  It’s meant to be the easiest bloody cake to make for goodness sake! I’ve tried all manner of recipes with plain flour, self-raising flour and every variation known to man, but every one a failure.

So now I’m now about to tuck into my Vicky Pancake, but please fellow mums, bakers and gastronomes, if you know a fail-safe and I mean truly fail-safe recipe, please let me know. Thanks!


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Rioting, Absent Parenting and Sensationalist Reporting

What on Earth is going on with all this rioting? Watching the news at the moment is like watching an end-of-civilisation film. Gangs of hooded thugs trashing shops, torching cars, clashing with police and fire-fighters and generally causing chaos. The situation is totally out of hand and the sensationalist press coverage is simply causing it to spread. By all accounts the main perpetrators are children and youths, with one as young as eight seen involved in the looting. So my question is this – where on Earth are the parents and what are they doing about it?

In a radio discussion today, a guest was saying that it is hard for parents to know where their children are because they will lie about their plans and whereabouts.  But surely, if you lived in one of these areas you would simply not let your child out in the evening whilst this anarchy continues. Even if they are innocently meeting up with friends, the chances are that they will get caught up in the chaos anyway.  Now, I have no experience of raising a teenager but I have been a teenager and I was disciplined accordingly. It’s no different now. Yes they have mobile phones and social networking sites etc but I’m a firm believer that ‘no’ should still mean ‘no’ if the parent has done their job correctly.

The way the riots are being reported in the news is not helping either.  Using terminology like ‘war zones’, ‘lawlessness’, and ‘disaffected generation’ simply adds glamour to this mindless criminality. For that is all it is. It’s not politically motivated or a symptom of ‘years of certain communities being ignored’ as some youth leaders would have us believe. It is purely opportunistic thuggery. So report it as such. We don’t need lengthy commentary from ‘experts’ explaining, and in some cases almost defending, this behaviour. We need simple reporting about the stupidity of those involved, and we needs parents to do their share and ensure their children stay out of it.

He’s not a political demonstrator, he’s a very naughty boy.


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Mummy Bloggers Bite Back

Why is there so must bitching and sniping about mummy bloggers in the press at the moment? What did we ever do to them? I’ve seen a couple of ranting articles against us (often written by women) and also a fair few snide comments – how do they have time, I bet they’re just parking their kids in front of the tv whilst blogging, don’t they have anything better to do etc etc. Well I’m sick of it. Back off journalists, we do bite.

How do we have time?
We’re supremely organised, multi-tasking wonders who can blog and cook simultaneously, whilst also planning tomorrow’s power outfit for the office and the children’s social diary for the weekend.

I bet they’re just parking their kids in front of the tv.
Well actually most mummy bloggers I know blog in the evenings when the monkeys are in bed so that blows that argument out of the water. I also blog on the train to meetings and mentally plan what to write whilst stuck in traffic, in the supermarket queue and anywhere else I’ve got a few minutes to fill. So there!

Don’t they have anything better to do?
Like what? Watch tv, chat on the phone, go to the gym? Why does blogging annoy people so much? It’s nothing to do with them what we do with our free time. Blogging for me is therapeutic, entertaining and free. Not a bad hobby I think.

So, journalist lady, whilst you’re sitting at home with just your 13 cats for company, think of me with a glass of wine in hand, lovely husband in the garden, gorgeous toddler dreaming away upstairs, happily writing my next blog. Who’s got it right – me or you?!



Another warm welcome to a super new follower Suzanne. Welcome Suzanne! x

Monday, 1 August 2011

Work Day Blues

I adore my job. I am one of the few who genuinely likes my job. But today was a struggle. I simply was not in the mood and I know exactly why it was. You see, last week the nursery was closed, so Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper, Mr Working Mum and I were together for a whole, glorious, fun-filled week.  We didn’t go on holiday, we simply spent time with friends, went to the local zoo, visited the farm down the road, had long lazy picnics and just enjoyed all being together. After such a blissful week it was a real wrench this morning to wave Mr Working Mum off to work and drop Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper at nursery. I drove the hour to my office and sat there at my desk thinking “Why am I doing this? Why is my lovely little family all spread out over three counties for the entire day and only together for an hour or so before bedtime? I am a Marketing Manager for more days a week than I am a mum. Is this right?”

But you know, it is right. It’s definitely right for me. I always have a couple of days of the blues on returning to work after a break but in a day or two I’ll remember that I enjoy my job and that being a stay at home mum is seriously hard work! It’s not all zoos and picnics, it’s chores and compromise. If I’m honest with myself I don’t have the patience to be a full time mother. And in the real world the family is not together all the time because someone, mother or father, has to go to work. These week or two week snippets I have in-between work are the best of the best – household jobs are postponed, outings are daily and the main aim is to have fun. It’s wonderful, but it’s not an insight into how life would be if I were to stay at home full time.

I know I’m right and my rationale is sound but I am still going to be a bit blue this week...


Welcome Working Mum!

Hi and welcome to my new follower Working Mum. I love your blog. Hope you've managed to get through your plum mountain! x

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Calling All Inventors.....

1) Weetabix glue
We all know that dried on Weetabix is near impossible to remove. ‘I need the chisel for the highchair again’. So why not go one step further and pop it in a tube. There – a multi-purpose, high strength, environmentally and child-friendly glue. I’d like to see the ‘yoof’ in my town trying to get high on that.

2) Steriliser with separate compartments
Open the lid to get one bottle out and you lose the sterile environment for all the other bottles. A simple design flaw.  All we need is a steriliser that has individual compartments and lids, allowing you to get one out at a time without affecting the other bottles.

3) Welly boots that can’t be kicked off
Twenty eight. That is the number of times I had to put Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper’s wellies back on whilst going around the farm today. They’re off in the car, off in the pram, off at lunch, off on the loo, kicked off into the cow pat, off in the car park, one left in the mud and so on. Shoes have buckles so can’t you think of some fastener for boots please?

4) Stain remover that actually, completely removes stains
Need I say more?

5) Baby smell hoover
I’m always sniffing Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper. That sounds weird but you know what I mean. You mummies reading this probably all do it too, often without even realising you’re doing it. That baby smell is simply addictive and I find it strangely calming. What I need is a little gadget that sucks that gorgeous smell of baby up and filters it into a bottle.

6) Pre-baby machine
Looking at wedding photos from five years ago I realised that I’ve aged. And I’ve aged more than is normal in five years. Why? Because I am a mother. Permanent bags under eyes? Check. Strange wobbly bit of tummy that won’t go away? Check. Boobs that sit 2 inches lower than before? Check. An extra half stone of weight from finishing up all of Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper’s leftovers? Check. Please find a way to zap me and return me to my pre-baby body. (In fact I’ve just realised our wedding was four years ago not five so please add memory-fixer to the list!)

Well anyway, that’s enough for you to get started on. I’ve got masses more ideas so come back soon for more to work on. Bye for now....


Come on inventors, I need your help. It’s quite simple. I’ve spotted several gaps in the market, so below is a list of things I think you should invent. There’s no catch. I’m not even going to charge you for my ideas. So, get cracking…..

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Etiquette of Kissing

Mortifying. That is the only way to describe the start of my meeting today. Utterly mortifying. I travelled into London this morning for a 'blue sky' marketing waffle meeting. At the meeting was the agency's bright new thing whom I'd not met before. Tall, well dressed and with a hint of the young Robert Redford, he cut quite a figure. The people I work with are very kissy (no chilly British handshakes for us) so I leant in for the obligatory double kiss. To my horror I realised just a bit too late that he was heading for the left cheek first. Bloody amateur – it’s always the right cheek first! I swerved to change cheeks at the last moment but I was not quite fast enough so somewhere in the middle of my avoidance manoeuvre we almost brushed lips. I certainly felt breath! To cover up my embarrassment I went confidently in for the second kiss only to discover that he'd already moved along and was offering another miserly single kiss to my colleague next to me. So there I am, lipsticked pout at the ready, head forward, my second kiss dangling uselessly in the air. Abort, abort! I smoothly carried on the move reaching casually down to my feet, and fiddled aggressively with my shoe. No-one was fooled. My crimson cheeks were a bit of a giveaway. Excruciating.

So here’s my plee -  England please, can we all just agree on a standard format of greeting. Personally I would suggest the double kiss, right cheek first. No single kisses, certainly no third kisses and never, never the hug. Most un-British!

Oh, and whilst we’re at it, please can someone do a kissing map of Europe? I know it’s three to four in Holland, more in the South of France than the North, and goodness only knows what they do in the more passionate Latin countries! All comments gratefully received!


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Would You Like To See The Children’s Menu?

No. No, I wouldn’t like to see the Children’s Menu thanks because I can probably guess what’s on it – fish fingers and chips, sausage and chips, or pasta with tomato sauce followed by ice cream. Am I right? Yes, I thought so.

Honestly, I am so fed up of going to gastropubs and restaurants where the proper menu is full of lovely, seasonal dishes but the children’s menu is just junk. Why do they do this? Last time we went out, Mr Working Mum and I both ordered scallops for a starter but it was Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper who ate most of them. The waitress couldn’t believe it (and nor could I actually - I was rather miffed at having to share). So when will restaurants realise that children are not another species, they’re just smaller versions of us? Well I have a plan. From now on let’s all start boycotting the children’s menu and insisting of half portions of real food for our little ones. If they won’t serve this (and surprising numbers of places do actually refuse) then we just take our custom elsewhere. In fact, let’s get Jamie on the case. DOWN WITH THE CHILDREN’S MENU. BRING ON THE MINI PORTION!!!


Sunday, 17 July 2011


And another welcome, this time to Miss Jade 21. Hello, and good luck with the novel!


Waste Not Want Not

I am getting a little fed up of being constantly nagged by the newspapers about how much food we throw away. I was brought up in a house where it was common to cut the mouldy edges off the cheese before eating it and scraping a blue-grey layer from the top of the jam was perfectly normal, so hardly anything from our kitchen goes in the bin. Now I’m not suggesting that you go that far but here are some of my top tips for using up ‘tired’ food:

1) The sad brown banana
Quite revolting to eat but ideal for turning into banana bread – a gorgeous, not-to-sweet cake that is great mid-morning with a cup of tea (let me know if you need a recipe and I can post it for you)

2) Floppy herbs
The recipe calls for 1 tbsp of chopped coriander but can you buy anything smaller than a whole plastic pack of the wretched stuff?  And will it last until the next Thai curry you feel like making? Of course not. Chop it, add a little bit of water and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Do this with any herb and it’ll save you a fortune.

3) Lethal weapon bread
Hard enough to cause serious injury if dropped on a bare toe but otherwise fine. Hack it into pieces, put it in the blender to make breadcrumbs, then put these in the freezer. Ideal for making chicken schnitzel and all things crumbed.

4) Lemons and limes
You bought loads to make the fruit bowl look summery but they never last as long as you’d like. Before they get too wrinkly, chop them into wedges and freeze them. Next step, prepare your gin and tonic, beer, dark rum and coke, or other tipple of your choice and drop a frozen citrus wedge straight in. Chills and flavours, perfect!

5) Wine
Now this is one of those tips I think could be a good idea but have never used. Why? Because it refers to ‘leftover wine’. If you’re anything like us there is never such a thing, however you may be more restrained so I’ll tell you anyway: pour your leftover wine into an ice cube tray, then add the cubes to your stews and casseroles as you need them. Having said that, needing to open wine ‘for the cooking’ is one of my great excuses so feel free to ignore this one!

Anyway, that’s enough saving the planet. I’m off to put tip 4 into practice. Now where did I put that gin……?


Thursday, 14 July 2011

Fabulous Followers

Well hello and welcome to my lovely new followers, Jelliot, Chatty Baby and Mama-and more. Lovely to meet you. Chatty Baby, thanks for your funny comments and Mama-and more, I'm amazed that you've got time in between mothering, marketing and massaging to follow my blog but I'm delighted that you do! Welcome....


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Peas Please

We had a breakthrough this week that dieticians and dentists world-wide would thoroughly approve of. It was 'snack time', that sugar dip around half ten when Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper needs a nutritional top up or all hell breaks loose. As usual I offered a glass of milk and a homemade oat biscuit. Ok, 'homemade' might be a tad misleading, They were made at home, just not mine (they were actually made by the lovely lady who runs the deli). Anyway, confession over, back to the story. So I've offered the snack but instead of the customary you-haven't-fed-me-in weeks type glee, I am met with a howl and dramatic sobs from a furious Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper. Ok, not quite the response I was expecting. Let's figure this out.

"What's the matter? Would you rather have water?"


"Did you want your Gruffalo plate instead of Dancing Mice?"

Scream and foot stamp

"Ok, give me a clue"

Tear-muffled response that sounds like 'I need a pee'.

"Ok, well nip to the loo then come back for your snack. Honestly, were the histrionics really necessary?"

Howl, then toddler drops theatrically to the floor. (Destined for the stage this one).

"I...(sniff).....want...(sob)... a green pea...(hiccup) its bed"

A green pea in its bed. As in a fresh pea in its pod? Has my child really just requested a pea over a biscuit? Extraordinary! ‘What’s the secret?’ I hear you cry. We’ve just had our first crop of peas from the allotment and clearly the novelty of podding them and then eating them raw hasn’t worn off yet. Peace is restored as I hand over four pods of perfect little peas. Struggling with a toddler who won't eat vegetables? Grow some - they'll bite your hand off for them!


Monday, 11 July 2011

Laughing Through Long Haul

Yes, you read correctly I said ‘laughing’ and ‘long haul’ in the same breath and no, before you ask, we did not leave Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper behind. How could you even think that?!  With 20 hours of flying and 1700 miles of driving under our belts from our recent family holiday to America, I am about to share with you Working Mum’s Tried and Tested Travel Tips. Now concentrate and please take notes because this is super-valuable advice:

Challenge 1 - The Airport
Juggling passports, tickets, boarding passes, fridge-sized suitcases and a toddler who wants to explore alone and at speed.

Working Mum’s Top Tip – buy a Trunki ride-on suitcase. Large enough to carry all essential toddler items, small enough to count as hand luggage, and enjoyable enough for toddler to ride on for hours instead of racing around madly.

Challenge 2 – Boarding
“Would all those travelling with children like to board first…..?”

Working Mum’s Top Tip – NO! No we would not like to sit on the plane for an extra half hour whilst waiting for everyone else to board and countless final calls are issued for the fools who have gone to the wrong gate. No, we would rather enjoy our last precious minutes of freedom thanks. (Unless, of course, your seats are not pre-allocated in which case run like a gazelle, push to the front and bag those extra leg-room seats.)

Challenge 3 – Take-Off and Landing
Take off and landing are stressful enough without the added tension of a toddler with popping ears and a good set of lungs.

Working Mum’s Top Tip – introduce the Take-off Treat and Landing Lollipop. Throw away all rules about sugary treats, rotting teeth etc and purchase 4 small lollipops. The novelty of having such a forbidden fruit is enough to keep toddler happy (and quiet) for 20 minutes whilst the sucking action soothes their ears. Why 4 lollipops I hear you ask?  Isn’t that a bit excessive? Let me explain: 1 for take-off, 1 for landing, 1 to replace the lolly that gets dropped on the loo floor and 1 to replace the lolly that was left half-sucked on the tray table and was cleared away by the air stewardess who mistakenly assumed it was finished with. Trust me, please take 4.

Challenge 4 – 10.5 hours of flying
10 and a half hours. Oh my, whose idea was this?

 Working Mum’s Top Tip – follow my hand luggage checklist:
1)      Change of clothes for toddler AND you (with travel sickness and the inevitable food/drink spillage, you’re both bound to need a change of outfit)
2)      Bag of Cheerios or other favourite cereal (various uses – snacks / bribes / meal replacements / mini-missiles to be launched discreetly at disapproving, child-free couple who keep tutting)
3)      Emergency Presents (a few small, new toys such as finger puppets, plastic money and stickers wrapped up individually and to be issued when tantrums threaten)
4)      Drinking cup with top (flimsy plastic cups in a confined space are hopeless so buy one of those sports-cap bottles or similar and decant all drinks into it)
5)      I-pod with child-friendly earphones (download favourite music and stories onto this – keeps them entertained, provides something familiar and blocks out plane noise if you want them to sleep. Alternatively take portable dvd player/laptop with favourite tv or films)
6)      Tiddle pad (for the newly potty trained take a tiddle pad or similar plastic-backed cushion so in the event of an accident the seat isn’t soaked)
7)      Normal bed-time items (if you have a night flight follow the usual routine to encourage sleep so take pyjamas, toothbrush, teddy bear, usual bedtime book etc)

And that’s it. Easy really.  Just follow my tips and you should cruise through your journey this summer season. But if all else fails, tip your seat back, order a large Bloody Mary, pop those foam earplugs in and remember that most of your fellow passengers are just glad it’s not their child.


Friday, 8 July 2011

Puppy Training vs Potty Training

Posh-Friend-Polly phoned up in a flap yesterday. She is trying to house-train their black Labrador puppy, Montague. (Ridiculous name for a dog I agree). Anyway, whilst Montague seemed to grasp the concept of holding on until he could feel the fresh air on his face it transpired that there was one thing my friend had overlooked – the cat flap. Yesterday Polly came down to breakfast and was horrified to see Montague, head happily poked out of the cat flap, weeing all over the kitchen floor! Having laughed heartedly at her misfortune, I then had to confess that we’d recently had a similar thing happen with Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper. Working Mum had a rare day off so we’d braved the rush-hour train and headed into town for a bit of shopping and lunch with friends. No sooner had we arrived at the super-trendy-biodynamic-beansprout type restaurant when:

‘MUMMY I NEED A WEE!’ the battle cry went up (shouted at a volume level reserved specially for public places).

We head to the loos and the toddler independent streak kicks in so I am ordered to wait outside the gate (cubicle door) as my assistance is not required. Fine by me. 3 seconds of daydreaming and then:


Gone funny? What’s on Earth is that supposed to mean? I open the door expecting the worst but when I get in all seems perfectly normal. All apart from the anguished expression on Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper’s face. I look and look, struggling to see a problem and then it clicks. Some over paid ‘design guru’ has insisted that what this restaurant really needs to complete the minimalist look are clear plastic loo seats…...AND LIDS! Clear loo lids, as in practically invisible lids, as in comedy loo ‘ha-ha we got another one’ lids. Genius. Happy clientele wowed by the chicness (is that a word?) of the restaurant. Or on the other hand, one fuming Working Mum and a soggy and utterly bewildered toddler.