Monday, 6 December 2010

Corrie, The X Factor, Ironing, Ballet, Christmas work do..... interesting month?

It's been a funny old month.  (70s flashback....hmmm)

I still can't shift the X Factor obsession.  I keep trying to convince myself I'm not at all bothered about watching the main show, and really....what's the results show but a repeat of the main show? But I keep getting drawn into it.  Who will make it? I'm expecting Mr Cardle to win, but what do I know.  I always liked Diane Vickers until they gave her the wierd popstar-forgot-to-buy-any-trousers-try-these-hotpants-instead makeover after the show.

This week I'm desperately trying to avoid Corrie at all costs.  Controversially I don't do soaps.  Never watched them.  Oh O.K., don't shout...maybe a few episodes of Neighbours when Kylie was still in it.  But the English soaps, Eastenders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, are not, and never have been, for me.  If I ever went on "Who wants to be a Millionaire", they'd ask me a question on one of those soaps for the £500 and I'd have to use a lifeline for it.  I much prefer my TV entertainment to be less depressing.  Unfortunately I occasionally listen to the News and so am struggling to avoid the current story that apparently there will be a major Corrie accident this week involving killing off some of the main characters.  It's fairly safe to assume I couldn't care less.

I'm also struggling to look yummy when I've got a huge.  No, gigantic.  No, enormous - pile of ironing as usual.  It's definitely bigger than I suspect most people's ironing piles are.  I imagine you've all got one little basket, that is only ever an ironing basket for 24 hours, and then, when the ironing is done, lives an empty life.  Go on; tell me it's not true!  I've got four baskets.  Very rarely are any of them empty. Currently the ironing takes up two, washing takes up the other two.  To be fair I can't complain.  They are full because we've been to Center Parcs to see Santa and, what with the two feet of snow we had during our stay, turned out to be a fantastic winter wonderland break.  Hat's off to the staff there.  Absolutely brilliant.  Taking shifts to grit the site all through the night.  Much better than our local North Derbyshire Council, who can't appear to keep a dual carriageway clear of snow, let alone a hilly school road.

Finally, November involved a re-introduction to the joys of Ballet in an attempt to continue to exercise despite a disillusionment with Pilates classes.  Yes, I got bored.  One Ballet class, and my calves were screaming every time I so much as twitched a leg.... for a week.  The joys of being unfit.  Enjoyed it though, and the second class was an improvement. (screaming for about 48 hours).  Pity I can't go now that life has been almost driven to a halt by a few flurries of snow.  I do so wonder how people living in Norway ever get anything done?  Perhaps if we put the Center Parcs management in charge of snow clearing across the whole county, we'd be getting about a whole lot easier!

Now I'm gearing up for the work Christmas do.  I haven't been for four years and have no clue what to wear.  Typically I've left myself plenty of time for purchasing something should the contents of my wardrobe not suffice.  The do is on Friday!  Any outfit suggestions - let me know!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Parenting Wisdom.....?

I cannot reiterate this enough.  Grandma is a genius.  Cheeky Monkey No 2 is now happily waving us goodnight each evening and settling herself down to sleep in her cot.  See my previous post for the method. Sleep & how to keep your bed to yourself 

She occasionally still wakes up in the night.  But it's not guaranteed and she will, if returned to bed in the calm way described (without talking) simply go straight back to sleep (even at 5am in the morning, and that's a first!) She's 26 months old.

And so I am at that lovely point.  The one where you feel that you've solved a parenting dilemma.  That you can actually do this parenting lark.  And fairly well, actually.  That staying up past 10pm is now a long distant dream that has returned to your world.  You want your evenings back.  You relax.  You think you can stay up until, dare I say it, closer to 11pm, and still wake up vaguely human at 6am the next morning.

That is until the next saga.  Which will no doubt hit me tonight (cynic, nah!) now I've mentioned it.  Because, you see, parenting successes are fleeting.  You win one, you move on to the next one.  Challenge after challenge, day after day.  Knowing that, however little sleep you've had, however demoralised, uncertain, lost, confused, angry, exhausted, drained, worn out; you are still happy, in love, proud, certain, amazed, stunned, excited, gleeful, and ready to face the challenge.  For in no other job are the rewards so great.  Just one smile, one hug, one "I love you mummy", and I'm back. Back in the game. 

Now what time did that film finish?  Midnight?  No problem!?

Friday, 5 November 2010

British Summer Time? Honestly, Mr Willett?

Grandma can still be smug (see previous post).  Cheeky Monkey No. 2 is now settling to sleep herself happily after waving goodnight to me.  Brilliant.

However; I am not at all happy with a certain William Willett (1857 - 1915), who, when he had the bright idea of creating British Summer Time, clearly didn't have two toddlers in his house. 

We have had 4.30am wake-ups every morning this week, after the clock change over last Sunday.

4.30am!  That's just ridiculous-o-clock.  No wonder I am obsessed with sleep.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Parenting advice...Sleep & how to keep your bed to yourself!

"MUMMY!" she shouts, "COME BACK".  Pause... She's waiting for a reaction.  Doesn't get one for a few seconds - I can't move that fast. "COME BACK ANOTHER DAY".......

Cheeky Monkey No 2's favourite song at the moment is "Rain, rain go away....come back another day".  Her favourite game tonight.... not staying in bed.

This was last weekend.  It was the second night of my implementation of 'Project Grandma-knows-best'.  Regular readers will know that CM No 2 has been testing us since we converted her cot into a cot bed.  She used to happily go into her cot, wave goodnight and snuggle down to sleep on her own.  She'd been doing this most of her second year.  But once she hit 2 yrs, the bed conversion happened, and; whether it was the freedom she suddenly had to get out of bed, or the lack of comforting bars around her; she did not want to settle to sleep on her own. 

With our first child, Cheeky Monkey No 1 (now 4 yrs), we had always been very strict about sleeping in your own bed and not in Mummy and Daddy's bed!  And we had used the Controlled crying technique when we went through a similar stage with her.  Successfully (albeit stressfully).

But with CM No 2, controlled crying is less of an option, when she's disturbing her big sister's sleep too.  So we'd tried sitting with or lying next to her until she went to sleep.  Fine when she's exhausted and drops immediately.  Less fun when she's more awake, and every time you try and creep out of the room she wakes up again. 

When she started waking in the night as well, and wanting us to lie with her again then, we realised we'd fallen into the trap of 'sleep associations'.  She now couldn't settle to sleep without us there.  Much to our own surprise, on two occasions we even ended up bringing her into our bed with us at 3am, when we were all just desperate for sleep. We realised we had to stop that, and fast, so we went back to a pattern of lying next to her until she dropped off, then creeping out of the room.  Hardly ideal when you're having to do it a few times a night.

In steps Grandma.  The girls went to stay with Grandma for a weekend, and Grandma tested a new bedtime routine of her own devising.  Firstly; she sang a lullaby to them both whilst CM No 1 lay tucked up in bed, and CM No 2 sat on Grandma's knee by the bed.  With CM No 1 very good at going to sleep during her lullaby already (and happy to say goodnight if she isn't), Grandma then took CM No 2 into her bedroom and commenced Project Grandma-knows-best.

She tucked her into bed.  Gave her a kiss.  Said goodnight. and left the room immediately, leaving the door fully open.

Of course we all know exactly what happened next.  CM No 2 screamed and ran to the child gate on her bedroom door.  But whilst I might have tried this and gone downstairs, leaving her a minute before returning, and then leaving ever increasing intervals (the controlled crying method) Grandma waited just outside the door, unseen until CM No 2 reached the doorway.  And as soon as CM No 2 saw her, she stopped screaming and went quiet.  This was new.  Grandma went into the room, tucked her back in, gave her a kiss.  And did not say a word.  She then immediately left the room again. 

CM No 2 jumped up and ran to the door (no screaming).  Saw Grandma was still there.  Grandma pointed to her cot, and walked into the room.  CM No 2 climbed back into bed, was tucked back in, given a kiss and, without a word spoken, Grandma left the room again.

Over and over this little dance played out.  Grandma tells me she returned her to bed over 40 times.  It took about an hour, during which CM No 2 crucially didn't cry, (always nice, and better for everyones' stress levels), and during which Grandma never said a word.  Finally CM No 2 climbed into bed, and didn't get back out. 

The next night Grandma repeated the technique.  And in half an hour, without crying, and with no talking after that first tucking in, she was asleep in bed.

Of course then she came home and it was our turn.  I followed the instructions to the letter, and it took around 40 minutes the first night.

The next night she was less tired, having had a long nap in the day.  She paraded backwards and forwards through her bedroom, muttering to herself, singing songs, and shouting if, on the odd occasion, she got to the door and I wasn't there (I'd popped to check on her sister).  The shouting wasn't angry, or stressful, she was just shouting for me to "Come Back", and combining her favourite song in the process.  That night took longer (just over an hour), and the hardest thing was not laughing at the funny walks and singing - keeping a serious (not angry) face.  It made a change from the stressful bedtimes where I've returned her to bed so many times, with her crying because I've left her a few minutes at a time, and where everyone has just got more and more stressed until she's basically fallen to sleep of exhaustion. 

And so, 10 days on, and we've had 2 nights where she hasn't got out of bed once at bedtime, and has gone straight back to bed and stayed there when I've repeated the technique during nighttime wakings.

Tonight I had to return her maybe 8 times.  But it only took 10 minutes.

And so, Grandma definitely knows best.  She's not smug at all!  She says it works because you are sending a message that it's not playtime, that there will be no conversation about it.  That the only thing that is going to happen is that the child is going to get back into bed and be tucked in.  And that's it.  And you are doing this whilst also sending the message that you are then going to leave the room.  But reassuringly are only just outside.  And every time they come to shout, you are there, but will simply gently, but firmly, tuck them back in bed.  It's a strong message because it's done through body language, and isn't clouded by talking.  Talking which, if you are tired, stressed or angry, would show in your voice and upset the child more, no matter what words you said.

Maybe we'll call it Grandma's technique.  It works.  Try it for a week and see the progress.  But remember - serious face.  No laughing!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Wedding Shoes.... and shopping with the Cheeky Monkeys!

Firstly I would like to apologise for my disappearance for the last 10 days.  I have been involved in one of those seemingly neverending whirlwinds of work, chores, notenoughsleep, food shopping, cooking, Christmas shopping, eating, work, chores.....

And, more excitingly, in the middle of it all, my sister got married this week.  My 2 girls were both bridesmaids (oh my, could they be any cuter?!) And I was the Matron of Honour.  Luckily I have a very good relationship with my sister, meaning that she didn't feel the need to publicly embarrass me by insisting I wear some hideous bridesmaid blamange.  Since, as previous posts would no doubt have suggested, I am somewhat lacking in sartorial elegance, I therefore had to have more than one shopping trip with both my sister and my mum, in which a variety of dresses, from traditional tent, to modern mini, were tried on. It was great fun and we found a beautiful navy empire line that looked divine.  My problem was then obvious.   Shoes.

Since we've established I have a large collection of shoes, it came as a surprise to discover that I had nothing, and I do mean nothing, that would go with this dress.  Navy shoes don't particularly feature in my wardrobe, and the one pair that I did have were summer wedges.  It just didn't work.  So I went on more shopping trips, one particular Saturday trying on every Navy pair of shoes that the shops in Meadowhall stock.   And as, inevitably is the case in this modern world, I gave up and ended up buying a pair on ebay for £11.

So.  It's the week before the wedding.  I've had my final dress fitting, and so the length of the dress is now based on my new shoes.  The Bride seems relaxed.  Everything is all ready.  I decide to pop my new shoes on, to try them out.  Wear them in a bit.

They rub my feet. 

Not a lot.  But they do.  Panic sets in.  I don't know what to do.  So I end up dragging my long-suffering hubby and both children for a trip to Meadowhall (A shopping mall in the Midlands) on a Sunday afternoon. In October.  When the Students are back and Christmas shopping has started in earnest.  It's packed.  5 shops in, and Cheeky Monkey No. 1 is flagging.  2 hours later, just as I decide to give up (hubby has suggested I wear the ebay shoes for the ceremony and pictures, and then quickly swop them for my sliver dancing shoes, and the plan, seen in light of the grumpy faces of my family, seems sound) I spotted New Look and, though Meadowhall New Look is not where you go if you want customer service (most of the staff there are under 18 and clearly not in the slightest bit interested in the customer's needs above their need to gossip)  I decided to give it a chance.

Turns out they had more than one pair in the Navy I wanted, lots that were two high, and 2 pairs that looked like they might just do the trick.  One of which they didn't have in my size, and the other was a 'wider fit' pair.  I bought the latter (can't go wrong for £20) figuring that, for one day, I'd prefer a 'wider fit' than a blister-covered heel.

I guess it wouldn't be me if there wasn't some sort of clothing dilemma!  I ended up swopping the New Look shoes for my silver dancing shoes after the photos anyway....That wider-fit made them too loose.

So what's the tip here then?  I guess it's simple.  Never, ever, wear new shoes for a wedding, unless they are Rainbow shoes (specifically designed for weddings - very very very comfortable).  And certainly don't wear £11 or £20 shoes without wearing them alot before hand. 

And never, ever, drag your family round the shops when there's pressure to find the perfect item.  It's not good for anyone.

It seems that parenting, more often than not, boils down to 'organisation' and 'preparation'.  Plan it.  Plan it early.  Because you just don't have the luxury of time on your side.

P.S.  The Bride looked absolutely beautiful.  Congratulations!

Monday, 11 October 2010

How to get some sleep?

Oh, if only I knew!?

If only there was one, straightforward, ready answer, to getting a little shut eye when you have two young children in the house. 

Remember my previous posts about Cheeky Monkey No 2's transfer from a cot to a cot bed?  She seemed to be getting better, in so far as she'd occasionally sleep through from 7.30pm until 5.30am.  But there has been no consistency.  Some nights she'll protest simply about going to bed and will ask us to lie in her room with her for a little bit.  She's only just turned two, but it's incredible how many words they can string together when they want something specific! 

And now we seem to be getting woken at around 3am.  And I do not exaggerate even in the slightest when I say that we are not just 'woken', but are 'thrown forcibly out of the snug bliss of dreamland only to land with a bump into a world devoid of any noise other than a blood curdling scream.' 

I think I could cope better if she was rousing in the night and mumbling to herself.  Or even calling out my name to get a cuddle to help her go back to sleep.  But no.  What we get instead is complete silence followed one second later by 'SCREAMING!!'

As you can imagine, I leap out of bed in shock.  Stumble through to her room as fast as I can, bearing in mind my lack of consciousness, trying desperately not to walk into doors, trip over the child gate, or trip over her.  I  gently walk her back to bed, tuck her in; she goes quiet pretty quickly if I lie down on the floor next to her; and she's asleep again within roughly 15 minutes of lying quietly.

So what's that all about!?

I'm hoping, with fingers and toes crossed, that she is simply teething.  That the nappy rash and runny nose are actually symptomatic rather than random coincidence.  And that those four back teeth will arrive soon and help to stop the night waking.

I'm hoping.  My concealer's good, but it won't be up to the job of covering those bags soon.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

X Factor 2010 Style Madness!

Simon Cowell has spent a lot of time during the many series of X factor wittering on about whether contestants have 'their own style' and chastising those that he deems 'overstyled'.  Well forgive me for having to pull him up on this now; but has he seen what the X factor styling team have done to the final 12 contestants this year!?

Storm.  Now there's a character.  He can certain hold a tune.  And he definitely has his own style.  But whose idea was it to die his hair primary red for the live shows?  He now looks like any other wannabee trying to look different.  He's in the over 28 category, and I've now idea how old he is, but he is most certainly not 14 years old - the only age I feel that a male can get away with that hair colour.  If he had his own 'style' in the first place; why did they feel the need to turn him into something else?  Had he auditioned with that hair colour originally, our impression of him would have been completely different.  People do, after all, judge on looks before anything else.

And then there's Rebecca Ferguson.  She has, indeed, the most gorgeous voice.  A beautiful recording voice.  One of those voices that you know, regardless of the results of the show, that we'll hear again.  And she is pretty, vulnerable, shy and seems genuinely nice.  I love her look.  Or at least, I did.  What have they done to her!?  She suddenly looks bland and boring.....    

I get the feeling that the X Factor stylists think they are turning these 'rough around the edges' contestants into 'glamarous performers'.  Pity that's not what the show's about.  It's about finding something special.  Something different.  And, you would hope, nurturing that.  Seems that's not what it's about anymore.  It appears to be about finding something special, and then stamping it out and turning it into something that they 'think' is popular.  I'm annoyed about this because I feel that they are trying to tell me what I like by restyling them in this way.  What was wrong with the way they looked before?

And don't get me started on Matt Cardle.  The reason we all liked him was that, despite his claims to hate being a painter, he looked like one - you know - a little rough around the edges, and we liked that.  Why, oh why, did they need to cut off his hair?

OK, I'm done.  Honest. 

Tip for the day.... don't spend time, like me, watching these shows.  They just get annoying.  I'm sure it's an addiction.  To echo the words of the early 80s, ' turn off the television set, go out and do something less boring instead'.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Another Bra trauma! And a few yummy mummy tips...

I'm off to a Hen do this weekend and, though I already know which dress I'd like to wear, I seem to have yet another bra trauma!  My two favourite La Senza bras may both be out of action.  Eeek.   The under wires are attempting an escape from the white bra.  The needle and cotton will have to come out tonight to attempt to reign them back in.  And the nude bra is, all of a sudden, starting to pinch at one side.  Since I've actually lost weight recently, I'm slightly confused by that.

My dress choice will, unfortunately, depend on which bra I can get back in operation, as it's a halterneck dress.  I know. I know.  What is it with me and halterneck clothes?  But they do seem to suit me.  Maybe I should have been around in the 50s for all those halterneck rock n roll dresses!

A few tips for yummy mummies everywhere today;
  • Even if you've 'never' before wore make up, try it!  Clarins' True Radiance Foundation is my saviour.  I throw it on just like sun cream (no technical skills required!)  Just that, and a splash of mascara, and I'm transformed from blotchy scary woman to perfectly acceptable woman.
  • Even if you rarely get two minutes to yourself like me; try and find an hour every couple of months to go and get pampered.  Even if it's just a manicure!  Suddenly you feel so much more yummy.
  • Use 'Nice n Easy' at home to cover those greys.  £5 from your local pharmacy, compared to £50 for a colour and blow dry at most hair salons!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Breeders do dress wierd....they have reason to.

Hannah Betts, columnist in The Times Magazine, this week points out that breeders, though clearly successful at procreation, aren't particularly known for their sartorial elegance. 

I had to giggle.  She's right.  This week, at the school gate, there's my tucked-in trousers and flats trying to be inconspicuous; my mate Jo, in her casuals (having done the usual parent thing and drank far too much wine on a rare night out the night before); Charlotte and Emily in their work gear, looking all smart and professional; numerous grandmas in knitted cardis; dads in football shirts and every other mum sporting leggings teamed with gladiator sandals in defiance against the autumn chill. 
But it is clear that parents, as a species, just don't do fashionable.  But then I got to thinking.  Fashionable by who's standards? Last week's Sunday Times Style magazine talks about fashion 'growing up', with more and more glossies opting to put women over 35 years on their covers, and advertisers selected the 'older women' in current campaigns (Reebok, Pringle).  But despite that article, the magazine itself is still full of features for current fashions modelled by girls who don't look over 20 years old.  And whilst fashion may be 'growing up' the clothes that are designed for women over 35 also come with an inflated price tag to match.  The advice is to splurge on investment pieces from Prada and Lanvin.  As a mum, with 2 toddlers, my response to this well meaning advice is "no chance".  I don't have the spare cash to blow it on designer pieces that are usually 'dry clean only' and do not respond well to having tomato sauce spilt down them.

I guess I'm looking for a glossy with models over 35 advertising clothes for the over 35s.  Somewhere I can find clothes to suit my generation, and still be, whilst perhaps unfashionable, still pretty yummy.  And, don't get me wrong; those parents in the school yard all look pretty yummy.  We just perhaps don't sign up to the experts view of fashion elegance!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Starting school.....Aaagghh!

It's a nasty, rainy morning in the Midlands.  Standing in the rain, huddled together with matching book bags and water bottles are three parents.  Waiting for the bell to ring, they are trying to keep dry, catch up with friends, keep an eye on their children, and stop the bottom of their trousers soaking up any more water but subtlety hitching them up to Simon Cowell heights every 3 minutes.  They are carrying all the school paraphernalia required.  Their children, 4 years old, are too busy running amok to hold said paraphernalia, and will, if unprompted, probably run into school without required book bag, water bottle, a photograph of themselves as babies (this week's homework for the parents), and a signed letter saying that, yes, they are allowed to have their eyes tested by the school nurse.

The mums all have the look of a frightened rabbit about them.  It's only week two.  They thought school would mean; drop off at 9am, pick up at 3.30pm.  But no.  Their children are all 'Rising Fives', which essentially means that they are not five at all, in fact they are nowhere near five, having only turned four a few measly weeks ago, and are so young that the smallest size of school uniform looks massive on them.  They are, as a result, starting school in September for 'mornings only'.  Which means, by the time you've dropped them off at 8.55am, and returned to pick them up at 11.55, you've barely had time to boil the kettle.  They have spent the first two weeks of school coming home with letters to their 'frightened rabbit looking mums' almost daily, inviting said parents to sign various forms, attend a school meeting (week one), attend a PTA meeting (week 2), become a school governor (week 2), obtain a minimum of £25 sponsorship for an event all children are participating in in week 4, sign their children up for football classes, dance classes, and remember to take in a copy of their child's birth certificate so that their identity can be confirmed.

On top of this they are required to remember to send their children with a clear (not coloured) bottle of water at the beginning of each week (presumably schools don't use their own cups for drinks anymore?), ensure name labels are in every item of clothing and dress them in 'easy' clothes on PE days (as the teachers presumably don't have the time to help them get dressed or undressed, regardless of their young age).  I can imagine a bunch of school children running around a school hall half-dressed.  A young boy still in his school shirt because he can't quite do the buttons yet.  A young girl still in her coat for the same reason.  Shorts on back to front.  Plimsolls on the wrong feet.  Oh dear.

And all of this on top of the added strain of having to get the child to school on time.  Not just to a relaxing play group once a week.  But to school.  Everyday.  Where I'm sure they do detention for parents that are stupid enough to be late.

It turns out that school now runs our lives.  We can't go on holiday anymore without consulting the school timetable.  Though looking at the prices is an easy way of spotting when the holidays are.  When the prices hike.

Am I stressed?  Ever so slightly.

Can I still be yummy doing all this?  Goodness knows.  I will try my best.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

How to entertain two toddlers? Paint, paint and more paint!

It took 30 minutes, two newspapers, a lot of sticky tape and three aprons before I would allow my two girls (4yrs and 2yrs) anywhere near the large piece of paper that ended up being our 'underwater scene'!  The paper is made up of six sheets of smaller paper stuck together.  Newspaper protection was stuck across our kitchen floor and up the units to catch splashes.  The paper went on top (stuck down). We then spent the morning simply covering that paper with paint.  It's roughly 2 metres square!

It took two further craft sessions for us to draw the fishes and mermaids on coloured paper, cut them out, and stick on the tissue paper, cotton wool balls etc to decorate.  Cheeky Monkey No.1 drew the red fish herself.  The rest of the drawing she had help with.  Cheeky Monkey No. 2 sat stiller than I've ever seen her sit, simply staring at us painting, and occasionally dipping her fingers in a green paintpot.  Talk about well behaved!

I saw this done on Supernanny a couple of years ago, and it worked just as well for us as it did for them.

We did this months ago now, but I thought I'd share it before I take it down off the wall.  It's time for something new.  Watch this space!

Messy, but fun..... Let the painting begin!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Trainers with a suit?

I am a great believer in practicality.  But I equally want to look good and more importantly feel good.  It's often a trade off and I'm well aware that my morning school run attire (34 inch long suit trousers tucked into socks, so that I don't trip over them whilst wearing my preferred flats at the base of my shorter legs, to drive to work, and drop off the children, before switching to the heels at work) isn't a look that most women would adopt whilst out in public.

So I was interested in the views of She magazine's senior fashion assistant, Francesca Moser, and their features editor, Anna Saunders, in their article this month " Should you wear trainers with a suit?"   (

Francesca seems to think that it's an absolute crime to put trainers anywhere near a suit.  And I agree to a certain extent, because I think 'flats' tend to do the job nicely.  But Anna's point, that you can only walk to work any distance in trainers, is completely valid.  I, personally, don't have to walk more than a few yards. 

But the issue neither of them addresses is how to deal with trousers that are deliberately long and designed to be worn with heels, during that walk to work.  I can hardly let them drag in the dirt can I?

My nickname at work is Imelda Marcos due to my, ever expanding, shoe collection.  All heels of course.  I gain confidence from my heels.  I am able to express some of my personality, whilst still wearing the pinstripe tailored look expected of an accountant. 

And whilst I absolutely wouldn't dream of getting out of the car at work without switching the flats for the heels and remembering to untuck those trousers. ( I do hope no-one from work is reading this!)  I, equally, would prefer not to break my neck in heels negotiating uneven pavements with a 1 year old in one hand and a 4 year old in the other.  So, for the school run, the strange, 'tucked in' look is, for me, here to stay. 

For me, it's one of those yummy mummy, really? moments.  How you can be yummy, and still be practical?

Ideas anyone?

Friday, 10 September 2010

Sleep. Lack of Sleep. And a Pigeon with a Leisure Pass.

On Tuesday it took an hour from first getting Cheeky Monkey No. 2 into her cot bed to her falling asleep.  On Wednesday it took 45 minutes. Yesterday it took 1 minute (she was exhausted, and hadn't napped.  I knew it was a fluke.)   Tonight, it took 15 minutes.  Progress is being made!

I'm trying to be calm, supportive, gentle and firm.  That means that rather than raising my voice when she starts screaming as soon as I leave the room, I simply walk back to her cot, gentle pick her back up, quick cuddle, "it's bedtime", into bed, "night night", leave the room.  And I've lost track of how many times I've repeated that.  But it's working. 

I remember getting more upset going through the same process with Cheeky Monkey No. 1 two years ago.  I remember getting angry, frustrated, teary, and wondered why she was getting more angry, frustrated, and teary!  It would appear that staying calm is definitely the key.  Easier said than done, I know.

Having said that, it's an awful lot easier to stay yummy-looking when you're not in tears.  And when you have the backup of the Clarins range!  I love their concealer now, and I didn't wear make up at all a year ago!

On a completely different, very random, note: a pigeon flew inside the door of our local leisure centre in front of me this week.  I wondered whether I should queue up behind him.  He shocked the receptionist.  A couple of other female leisure centre workers immediately backed away in a very girly fashion.  The pigeon surveyed the reception area and scuttled through the entry barrier and made to wander up the stairs.  He clearly fancied a bit of a sauna.  It took another, more capable, leisure centre worker, (male, the stereotype's were prevailing today) to direct the bird back out of the door. 

Anyone got any other bizarre moments to share?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Spanking new? Or second hand?

Cheeky Monkey No. 2 is still taking roughly an hour to settle down to sleep after initially putting her in her cot bed and saying goodnight.

Showing her that Cheeky Monkey No. 1 is also in bed helped.  But didn't solve the problem by any means. 

I get the feeling, from the way she is crying, that she is still a little unsure about the move to a cot bed (which we did 11 days ago now) and is finding it all too new and strange.  So my approach has been to return to her room no more than 1 minute after she's started crying, and to calmly give her a hug, kiss and place her back in the cot.  The firm, but understanding, approach. 

Finally I got her in bed and asleep, and was able to start on the 'iron-on' labels that I still hadn't managed to get into CM1's school clothes yet, as I hadn't been able to find them, stored as they were, in a 'safe' place. It turns out that the 'safe' place for 'iron-on' labels is, quite obviously, a sewing box.  Female logic is a powerful thing.

So we are prepared for the first day at school tomorrow.  But I am having pangs of guilt for getting her a second hand school cardigan and jumper (with school logo).  Why I should feel that they should be new I don't know.  CM1 certainly couldn't care less.  But I do.  I feel that they should be spanking new.  Untouched.  But in the spirit of being a contradictory female, I also want to re-use, recycle, let old school uniform items meet their school destiny once more.  Especially as I have now discovered charity stores and markets and second-hand baby wear stores (try Lilypads in Chesterfield ) for top fashions for less than £5.

Clearly I am freaking out, in the manner of a occasionally yummy mummy, about completely pointless issues, that I absolutely need not freak out about. 

Unfortunately, being a mum does that to you.  So the tip for today is simple.  Take a breath.  Breathe.  Pause; if only for a few seconds.  And try Micheal Buble for some feel good music. 

Monday, 6 September 2010

Back to School Mayhem!

I haven't had two minutes spare in the last week!  This week Cheeky Monkey No.1 starts school for the first time, Cheeky Monkey No.2 starts a new nursery and I start back at work.

I still haven't managed to find some PE shorts for CM1.  And her name labels haven't yet arrived from Marks & Spencer.  I might be more stressed as a result, but luckily CM2 was more than happy to start nursery today, was absolutely shattered on her return home, and went to bed fairly easily, bearing in mind the nightmare of a week we have had trying to get her to calmly go to sleep in her new cot bed (see previous posts).

It's late.  And I don't suppose the girls will sleep through the night, if the rest of this week is anything to go by, so I'm afraid I only have brief words of wisdom today.

1.  Don't convert a child's cot into a cotbed days before you start back to work after a summer break.
2.  Don't leave school uniform purchases, including name labels,  until the last minute.
3.  Do get your school shoes from M&S.  They are apparently "scuff resistant".  I'm looking forward to testing that claim!
4.  Do enjoy time off with toddlers.... How quickly time flies and before you know it they are at school!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Girls Night Out....

We went on the Girls Night Out last week, and I did, despite worries that I definitely wouldn't have any, actually wear clothes.

After six outfit changes I went for a Chinese style (black with pink, grey and white flowers) wrap over shirt dress, over a black vest and grey trousers.  Pink shoes to tie in.  Big chunky metal bracelet to complete the look.

Whether that sounds trendy or not I have no idea...... I've realised I have no idea what trendy is.

Still a good time was had.  Slightly too much wine was drunk.  And frankly, having seen some of the outfits out around town, I could have gone out in an old 80s Boob tube and Ra Ra shirt, and no-one would have battered an eyelid.

Sleep.....? When cots become cot beds......

Just when you think you've got it all sorted; the girls are playing nicely together in the garden, you're actually getting some laundry sorted and ironed, and they're both sleeping through from 7.30pm until approx 6am; that's when it all goes awry again.

We have reached the point where our younger is nearly 2 years old and she can reach the top of her cot with her foot.  From 2 years of watching her older sister, she has a 'climbing' habit.  And it's purely a matter of time before she utilises her skills to throw herself out of her cot.  So we had to do it.  We had to convert the cot into a cot bed.  This weekend.

The first night was fine.  She was exhausted from a very busy day.  She went to bed late due to all the excitement surrounding the change to a new 'bed'.  So she was asleep before she could really worry about the change. 

The second night was fine.  Hubby sat with her for a bit after lullabies, and she fell to sleep whilst he was still there.  "We need to be careful we don't let that happen too often" he commented that night.  "Else she'll always want us to sit with her until she gets to sleep". 

He was right.

Today the problems started at nap time.  Usually she is brilliant at nap time.  She'll even switch into her pyjama bottoms for comfort, and snuggle up in her cot happily.  I'll say 'night night' and she'll wave me out of the room and indulge in between 1 and 2 hours kip.  Today she was absolutely not happy.  Every time I tucked her in and left the room she'd scream, run to the safety gate at her door, and stand screaming for me.

The screaming quickly reduced to whining, but 40 mins later, after so many 'tuckings-in' I lost count, when she was still getting up the second I left, I gave up and took them both out in the car for a drive.  I haven't done that in a while!  My elder was tired out too, the double buggy had been left in the boot of the hubby's car (scatty did you say?), so only my car could accommodate them both for a nap simultaneously. 

It completely messed up the afternoon's plan.  Instead of "quiet time with eldest whilst youngest naps, walk across to local supermarket for nappies, post letters, hand in forms to leisure centre, walk back via park, tea, bath bed".  It become "stressful time having to keep leaving my elder to sort the younger, stressful 30 mins trying to get the car seats back in my car (why they weren't in is a whole other story), weird 90 mins of driving around my local town so they'd sleep, a quick trip into the supermarket, forgot to post letters, no time to hand in forms, no time for park, no time for walk, a quick play in the garden, off to bed".

At 8.30pm tonight though, after trying to settle the younger down for 90 mins, I was seriously regretting letting her sleep in the day at all.  She was screaming as if she was scared to be left.  Very weird, considering that she's always been really good at saying goodnight and falling to sleep after we've left the room.

Hubby had the answer.  He pointed out that sleeping in a cot bed after a cot, was akin to me sleeping out in the middle of the garden after sleeping in my room.  Because, for her, the bars of the cot formed a wall around her, cocooning her. 

So how are we supposed to help her with this one then?  I guess I won't be doing much in the evenings this week!?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

What on "EARTH" do I wear for a Girls Night Out!?

Ok.  Ok.  So it's been a while.  I am a typical mother, tied to the kitchen sink, pinny permanently attached, coarse hands from all the floor scrubbing, drawers in the lounge full of apples off the trees (for all the chutney), a veggie plot, and a chicken.  For the hubby's breakfast eggs obviously.

Hmmmm.  Yeah.  Right! 

More accurately, is that I'm a typical mother, who avoids the kitchen sink in favour of a dishwasher, always forgets to wear a pinny when cooking, and am thus forever trying to wash garlic oil out of my clothes, have embarrassingly soft hands from all the non-manual labour and hand cream and last saw a drawer full of apples at my Grandad's house 25 years ago.  Would love, but wouldn't have the time, energy, or desire to spend all day weeding.  And live in a house whose deeds specifically deny me the option of having a chicken.

And being a mother, I very rarely get a girls night out.  In fact, the last two girls night's out we had involved going to a restaurant and basically staying there until we couldn't eat or drink any more. 

So I have absolutely no idea what 30-something women are wearing for a night on the town.  I even bought the September edition of Cosmopolitan (haven't read it in years) for inspiration, since they had a "Friday Night Fever" feature, gatecrashing the getting ready routines of four different groups of girls.  Was it helpful?  In short.  No.

I can't see me going out in the Vintage gear of the first group.  I certainly wouldn't get away with the outfits of the 20-24 year old Liverpudlians.  The student's outfits I could have worn when I was, surprise, surprise, a student. And the society girls looked like they were going to a ball.  Not for a night out in a smallish East Midlands town. 

So, back to She magazine?  Er, it turns out not actually.  Since their fashion pages advocate blood orange leather jackets teamed with Vivienne Westwood orange silk trousers (tapered trousers at that).  Honestly?  To wear outside?  In front of other people?

So back to the original question.  What on "Earth" do I wear for a Girls Night Out.  I don't even know if jeans are acceptable these days or not?  Maybe I'll just start with the shoes.  If I get those right, surely the rest will just fall in line?  Help!!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Why do Cars park on the Pavement?

Why?  Oh why?  Oh why?

Why would you park half on the road and half on the pavement?  Why would you do this, in a residential area, in a manner which effectively blocks the pavement?

Do you not realise that anyone with a buggy (pushchair, if you prefer), cannot get past the car?  Do you not realise that the mother and her buggy now have to venture into the road?  Unnecessarily.  Just to get past your inappropriately parked car.

When you park like that, do you not realise that you are putting the lives of babies and young children, along with their carers, at risk?

When you do it, thinking that cars are perhaps less likely to clip your wing mirror, do you not think that buggies with projecting parasols might accidentally scratch your car when trying to pass?

Is it really worth it?  Do you really think other cars on the road seriously can't get past you if you don't park that way?


I think I'll start a campaign against this...... who's with me?

Monday, 16 August 2010

Keeping Them Entertained.......

Found a fab list of tricks to keep the kids entertained.....

Breastfeeding...What you really need to know.

"So you'll be breastfeeding then?" says the matron-like midwife, with not an inch of doubt in her tone.

"Er... yes.  I'd like to try" says I, not really ready to commit this thought to paper.  Least of all to her very official looking paper. 

She scribbled it down. 

"And what pain relief were you thinking off............" 

And that was that.  No in depth discussion about what breastfeeding might involve.  No reference to guidebooks, DVDs, or Internet sites of note that could perhaps help me with the forthcoming task.  Nope.  Just an assumption that I'd be breastfeeding and that was that.

Then, 3 weeks after giving birth, when I was finding it very difficult, the Health Visitor had a similar level of presumption about her.  "You'll have to express more" she said.  Ignoring the fact that I'd said two minutes earlier "I can't express.. at all."  Even with the very clever, freaky looking, motorized pump they'd suggested would help.

That was my first encounter with breastfeeding as a subject matter.  Back in 2006.  By 2008, with my second, the experience hadn't changed much.  So I'll be providing some useful, matter of fact, tips on breastfeeding over the next few weeks.  Starting with this:

There are 4 key factors that determine whether or not you will be able to successfully breastfeed.  When I say successfully, I mean in a way that; ensures your baby gets enough milk to last them the next 3-4 hours (timed from the start of the feed), is putting on an appropriate level of weight that you are happy with; and in a manner where each feed doesn't take much longer than an hour to complete. You may have different measures of success.  So be it.  Here are the key factors:

1. How much milk your body produces
2. How fast your body is able to release the milk
3. How well your baby can suckle to obtain the milk
4. How good the baby's latch is.

Before you start breastfeeding it is worth knowing this; that you have control over the last factor, the latch.   That's it.  All the rest is pre-determined.  Much like how good, or not, your eyesight is. 

So go for it.  Try your best.  Follow all the advice appropriate to your situation.  And if it's still not successful, remember that this is the 21st Century, and you can now buy baby milk from the shops!  I was not breastfed.  At all.  And I am perfectly well and healthy.  But I do recognise the benefits, which is why I tried it with my girls for as long as I was able.  (roughly 3 months for each child).

So keep logging on for more breastfeeding advice, along with the usual tips and hints for parenting, and still, somehow, maintaining our yummymummyness!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

How to keep the Children Entertained!

When the girls are winding me up. Or winding each other up. I firmly shout "Song Time" over the din.

Grab our cushions. One each. All sit down on the carpet in a circle and sing songs.

Not just any old songs. And not the current iTunes top ten. But traditional, action songs.

Here's my list. Sing loud. Have a dance. And above all be silly! Have fun!

Incy Wincy Spider (involving lots of tickling!)
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Horsey Horsey
Old MacDonald had a Farm
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Five Little Ducks
I Hear Thunder, I Hear Thunder!
If you’re happy and you know it
Hokey Cokey
Ring O Roses
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Jack & Jill
One Finger, One Thumb, Keep Moving
This Old Man, He Played One
The Farmer’s In His Den
This Little Piggy
Round & Round the Garden
Humpty Dumpty
Pat a Cake
The Wheels on the Bus
Rock a Bye Baby
Oranges & Lemons
Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
Sing a Song of Sixpence
The Grand of Duke of York
Pop goes the Weasel

The Rest
Jingle Jangle Scarecrow
Red Tractor
Five Teddy Bears Jumping on the Bed
Five Little Speckled Frogs
Terrible Crocodile
Animal Fair
There were Five in the Bed and the little one said….
Roly Poly, Roly Poly
Wind the Bobbin Up
Five Current Buns in the Baker’s Shop
I’m a Little Teapot
Hickory, Dickory Dock
One Man Went to Mow
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Touch your nose….
One Little, Two Little, Three Little Teddy Bears
Here we go round the Mulberry Bush
The Sun has got his hat on
Two Little Dicky Birds

Monday, 9 August 2010

It should definitely be Scatty Mummy!

I'm still trying to get the stain off my favourite shoes......

We took the girls out for a meal at the local 'Inn' on Saturday lunch. The 'Inn' at Troway do great British food, brilliant offerings for the children (they eat free on weekdays), and have colouring books, crayons, reading books, jigsaws etc, to keep them entertained whilst you wait for the freshly cooked food to arrive.

My youngest, Lottie, is helpfully starting to tell us when her nappy needs changing. Repeating "nappy, nappy, nappy" tends to do the trick. She is also starting to say "wee-wee". And on Saturday I realised that she was trying to tell us she needed to go before she actually did. It caught me by surprise, but I thought, well she's young, but she has been copying her big sister recently, so perhaps potty training will be faster for her and easier for me. We can always hope.

So I whipped her out of her high chair, and scuttled off to the toilet with her. She was really good. She tried to help with her trousers, pulled down her pull-up nappy, and when I sat her on the toilet she grinned, and started to go.

Brilliant! I thought. For roughly a second. It took that long for me to notice that I hadn't sat her far enough on the toilet. Her "wee-wee" was all over the seat, all over the floor and all over my feet.

This is definitely why Jimmy Choos just don't go with children. And why I have such difficulty finding yummy clothes, shoes, bags and jewelry that are child-proof, or at the very least, easily washable!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Or should it be Scatty Mummy?

It's no surprise that there's a general consensus that having children kills off your brain cells. Particularly if other Mummies have the same kind of daily experiences as me.

Today I hit the shops with the elder, 4yrs, in tow. Not wanting to browse around, as she was getting tired, and was likely to run down the aisles any minute, I asked a male sales assistant, where I could find the waterproof mattress protectors.

He duly led the way across the store to the correct section and I, trying to steer my daughter in the correct direction behind him, followed.  The elder immediately hid behind a display. I had to do the quick telling off, look up again, clock the sales assistant and continue following him.

He headed straight for the tills. He got in behind one of the tills. I stood next to the till. And he looked up and said, "Can I help you?".

I looked at him. Carefully. Thought about it. And turned around. Another sales assistant was stood slightly further back in the shop looking at me with a confused expression on his face.

I had, of course, managed to follow the wrong sales assistant after telling my daughter off.

You could have fried eggs on my face. Not a good look.

A very timid mummy followed the original sales assistant to the correct side of the shop for my mattress protectors, and tried to protest my innocence... mumbling about uniforms, etc... I didn't help myself.

Hence my apparent evidence in support of the brain cell theory. Doesn't 'distraction by a 4yr old' count as a defence?

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Yummy Mummy Guide to Pregnancy! Part 1.

Oh I remember it well.

The excitement. The fear. The panic that every step I made would jolt my baby's head about.

Come on ladies, don't panic! Though pregnancy can come with a whole host of issues that you'd never even considered (from a healthy skin glow and bouncy hair, to constipation and leg cramps), it is an amazing experience.

I just thought I'd share a couple of tips for some of the most common ailments suffered during pregnancy.

Firstly, you may find that, if you don't eat much in the way of salt like me; I don't even add it to my potatoes; your leg cramps and something that I call 'restless legs', are even worse. Packets of salted crisps reduced my problems in this area. Before the packetofcrispsaday diet I took to in despair, I'd spent many a sleepless night pacing the bedroom, doing stupid numbers of leg stretches.

Secondly, the constipation issue. A yogurt a day on top of plenty of fruit and veg, if you can manage it. If you are still in the feeling nauseous stage, and can't face fruit and veg at the moment, try the odd few sliced bananas hidden in your cereal. But honestly, for about 10 weeks I couldn't eat much more than toast, ginger biscuits, and potato waffle cobs (sorry, should that be sarnies, or bread cakes?) and my girls turned out fine! Your body will tell you what nutrients it needs, so don't panic if you think you're not eating well when you go through the icky stage. Just try and drink plenty of water.

And finally for this instalment, the clothing dilemma..... What to wear when your trousers don't fasten, the hipster style falls off your hips, and the over-the-bump jeans slide down under your bump. I gave in to braces. Hidden, of course, under a gorgeous blouse.* After all, who's gonna know?!

* OK, so semi-gorgeous blouse. This is me.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Days Out for the Kids this Summer!

The summer holidays made easy!

Check out the National Trust website for their "60 Days of Summer" activity planner with loads of ideas for great days out.

Simply start at their home page where you'll find "Schools Out". There are links to various local planners too, for example their "Get Sussed for Summer" planner for the East Midlands. (simply type "Get Sussed for Summer" in their search engine and you're there.)

Have fun!

The Essential Day Trip Packing List for Mums!

So you're off on a day trip during these summer holidays. So what to pack?

For the children:

  • A snack box (raisins, goodie bars, mini chocolate bars, bananas, at least 2 juice drinks per child)
  • Sun hat
  • Sun cream (ideally cream them before you go out, but take some spare just in case!)
  • Rain coat, or if you can manage it a rain suit (they include legs, and this is England you know!)
  • Wellies
  • Nappies/wipes/nappy bags if applicable
  • Change of clothes for each child (including underwear - in case they get drenched, muddy, sandy... etc)
  • A mini high chair, or bumper cushion, for small children in case highchairs aren't available; OR,
  • A picnic blanket (regardless of if you've taken a picnic - these are really useful)
  • Tissues
  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • Mini first aid kit (single dose sachets of children's paracetamol and ibuprofen, plasters, antibacterial cream for cuts and scrapes)
  • A mini colouring book and pencils for each child (just in case)
  • A flask - a large one with a lid that converts to a cup (or two cups if you can manage it. Thermos, of course, do a good one) for that all important cuppa!
  • Spare socks for all (for some reason they always need socks)
  • A buggy - if only to carry that lot around in.
Having a picnic?
  • A selection of sandwiches
  • A selection of party food to your taste (scotch eggs, sausage rolls, mini sausages, cheesy dippers, couscous, pasta salad, cucumber sticks, grapes, etc etc)
  • Plastic plates for all (makes it much easier to track whether they've all actually eaten anything!)
  • More juice for all - ideally not requiring separate cups
  • A selection of deserts to your taste (mini jelly pots and spoons, mousse pots, cupcakes/fairy cakes, etc )
  • Milk for babies
  • At least one bib
  • Baby food, and spoons.
For yourself:
  • Your wellies
  • A change of socks
  • Sunhat or baseball cap
  • Your own suncream (don't forget those shoulders. See earlier post!)
  • Raincoat
  • Change of clothes - if only to keep in the car. I've had juice split all over me more than once, and those nappies aren't always foolproof; especially when they are sat on your knee!)
  • Adult paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • Money!
  • Any relevant tickets, annual passes etc
And of course, the all important kitchen sink.
Let me know if I missed anything....

Beauty Treatments in North Derbyshire - Yummy!

I've actually had a rare chance to get myself down to the Beauty Salon!

This week I tried out a new beauty salon. "Pure" is cosy, being housed within Woodlands Fitness Centre, but friendly, and they've had an offer advertised for weeks that I'd been itching to try. The offer, entitled "Strawberries & Cream", consists of a Manicure, Pedicure and Back Massage, all for just £35.

So the second I realised I'd got an afternoon to myself (Girls out with Grandma!), I booked in quick.

I'm so glad I did. It's only when I finally get around to doing these self indulgent things that I realise just how good for your soul it is to treat yourself. Particularly when you have children and their needs always take priority over your own!

Michelle, the friendly beautician, immediately set me at ease with a lovely cuppa (how English am I?!), and we started with the Manicure and a good ol' gossip. By the time I'd had the Pedicure I was full of that post-gossip glow and already pretty relaxed. The back massage nearly sent me off to sleep. Lovely!

And now, of course, I feel all Yummy Mummy again, with my posh fingers and toes. Now where did I leave those strappies?

Pure is at Woodlands Fitness & Leisure Centre on Sheffield Road, and is open 7 days a week (so you can treat those feet after a night dancing on the Saturday.... not that I've done that for a while - woe is me!)

Go to for opening times and contact details.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Great family days out at Wheelgate Adventure Park

We had an absolute ball yesterday!

I took the girls to Wheelgate Adventure Park ( It was brilliant. My mate had suggested it for a day out with my two girls (4 and 1yrs) and her girl and boy (4 and 1yrs). I'd never been before, but I wish I had.

It's near Mansfield, in the East Midlands, and is perfect for little ones. They have all the traditional children's activities; a carousel, small airplane rides, a mini pirate ship, a 6 lane bumpy slide (with traditional sacks to slide down on!) and a playground area including 2 mini zip lines (that the older girls loved), slides, swings, special swings for babies, a fort, climbing frame, monkey bars etc. And that was before you got near the mini roller coaster, go-carts, pitch and putt, the toddler's play village and the larger Robin Hood fort area for older children, the bouncy castles (at least 4), the mini train and the Tropical House! And if it happened to rain, there was a huge indoor play centre, split into older and younger children's areas.

We never made it inside the indoor play area.

The girls loved it. Most of the rides have a minimum height restriction of 1 metre or 1 .1 metres. But you have to pay for all children bigger than 95cm, because they can go on some rides accompanied by an adult. The height restrictions do vary across the rides - so beware what promises you make!

So for a good day out, for only £9.45 each (I had to pay for myself and the elder. The younger got in free, so it cost us £18.90), it's definitely worth it. We took a picnic and plenty of juice and snacks, so didn't spend a penny other than the admission fee.

Word of warning for yummy mummy's everywhere though. I managed to get sun burnt and a mild case of sunstroke, even though we had our rain coats and wellies with us. Here in the Midlands we have been getting those warm, but overcast, days. It appears that, even through cloud, my fair skin can't cope! I hadn't put the girls in hats, and I'm normally paranoid about sunscreen and hats simply because of how easily I know I burn. So for me to get caught out is very rare! Luckily the girls were fine. Phew!

Beware of the sneaky sun this school holiday season. White lines across your shoulders is not a yummy mummy look!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Baby Products - The Best Twin Buggy? A Phil & Ted

I'm still completely in love with my Phil & Ted buggy (with doubles kit!), and I'm starting to mourn it's inevitable loss. My daughters are growing up so fast, I'm fairly sure I won't be able to use it for both of them much longer. I still keep the back seat attached, even when I don't need it for a second child, because, quite frankly, why carry your shopping when it can sit in a seat?

The buggy is our third one. The first was a travel system. Detachable car seat, various seat settings. It was Mothercare's Trenton Deluxe, with glove compartment and temperature gauge. I kid not. It was fantastic. The second was a lightweight basic buggy (for holidays - Mamas n Paps). Then we had a second child, when the first still couldn't walk for very long without lifting her arms up to be carried; have you noticed that they stop even asking to be picked up; they think the arm gesture is enough; and we looked for an appropriate buggy.

The Phil & Ted was the only buggy system for siblings about 2 years apart. A twin buggy, without the twin buggy wheelbase. In fact it's no bigger than most singles.

I love it.

Do you think I could still use it when both of them are too big? Maybe sit a doll in the baby seat and pretend, just so I have space for the shopping!?

Friday, 16 July 2010

Are boys really that aggressive when they're 6?

I've spent 2 hours of my afternoon in an indoor play centre. I assume they have similar places all over the UK, but here in the Midlands they seem to have replaced the 'garden' as the place to let your kids let off some steam. (I'm sure it's because we're paranoid about muck these days and won't let them play out if it's wet!)

My girls both love these play centres. But conditionally. The condition seems to be that there are practically no other children there, OR, that all other children in the place are the same age as them and preferably also girls.

I thought this slightly odd to start with. The first occasion we were in such a place and the elder came running up to tell me she wanted to go home, I thought it was a one-off occurrence. But she was adamant that they were "too many scary big boys". She clearly wasn't enjoying herself anymore, so we did, indeed, come home.

Today though I took the chance to have a good look around whilst we were there. I only had the elder with me, so I could take a breath! And I was fairly surprised to notice the level of aggression the young boys had. Do we really bring our children up to meet such stereotypes? Or are they just naturally like that, and we can't really do much about it, even if we wanted to?

The boys all dived into the 'football' area - of course. Again, stereotype? Who taught them that!? And proceeded to wallop the ball at each other, flinging their legs about in a manner which, I'm sorry, but even I could tell would warrant a red card and a comment about dangerous play. And then, when a ball accidentally whacked them in the head, they squared up to the boy who had kicked the ball and started shouting about how they could take them.


If it were girls, the offending girl would be apologising before the victim had chance to turn around, and the victim would no doubt say, as a result, "it's fine, thanks".

I guess I'm just so shocked that our boys have such anger inside them. And it made me wonder why? Is it our fault as parents? Or are they just dealt that hand of genes?

Just before we left, a girl, was being mercilessly teased by a bunch of about 5 boys. Well, I say teased, but that's far too tame. They were throwing (I toyed with 'chucking' there - and technically, up here in the North, that would be more accurate and, I'd argue, more representative of the manner of the throwing!). They were throwing those sponge shapes they have in these places; that are less like sponges and more like bricks when they hit you in the face; straight at this girl of about 7 or 8 years. She clearly knew them, and was defending herself well, and even attempting a few throws of her own. But then, the boy got too close, and the well aimed kick he received floored him for at least a minute.

I had too chuckle, even though it really, when you think about it, isn't that funny. But come on...I hear some of you say... Did he not ask for it!? If you start violence, should you not expect violence in return? Actually no. And that's why I teach my girls; no kicking, hitting or throwing at people. Because quite frankly it's dangerous, and I worry where it may lead.

Do mums of boys teach the boys that? Let me know. I'm intrigued. Do we really treat girls and boys so differently at such a young age?

Cor - that got a bit deep... sorry.... Back to being yummy next time I think. Tricks like washing your hair and getting the conditioner on so it can do it's thing while you scrub everything else. Or writing envelopes and thank you cards, whilst simultaneously talking on the phone.... I'm full of time saving multi-tasking me! Pity you can't cook dinner whilst sleeping... I'd like that one!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Still Hurting!

Last week I agreed to complete my second Race for Life in the space of a month. My friend needed my support.... I was there.

Only I didn't really think about the fact that she goes out running. Fairly regularly. And I don't.

"It's alright, we'll do it together" she responded, when I said that it really didn't matter if she wanted to run ahead at any point. I'm not fit, I pointed out, I'll be walking most of it. "No problem", she said, "I haven't trained for it anyway. We'll walk fast shall we?"

Hmmmmm. I walked fast for most of the Race for Lift in Nottingham. (Jogging both at the start and end, of course!) And I managed to complete that in 43 minutes. But now, I'd set a yardstick. My mate obviously wasn't going to let me do it slower! "Come on," she encouraged, "we can beat that time easily!".

So I found myself jogging. A lot.

By the time we got to the final kilometre I felt I was going to struggle to jog the last section. But then a buggy overtook us. Not just a basic, standard, single buggy. Oh No. A double buggy. With an annoyingly relaxed, fully made-up, glamorous sunglasses-wearing Yummy Mummy pushing it along at a pace far superior to mine.

Well. What's a girl to do. Somehow I ran the last section, and knocked 5 minutes off my previous time, completing the 5 km in 38 minutes.

Which was great. And I was on a high for the rest of the day.

Haven't been able to walk since though. And I didn't beat the buggy.......


Thursday, 8 July 2010

Children's Books - Which one's do I pick?!

I've been buying and reading books since before I can remember. I have always been a 'reader'. One of those children that, when I wasn't at dance class, always had my nose in some book or other. I love stories. I get so involved in books that, if someone asks me a question whilst I am reading, there's a short delay (while my brain processes the question, taps me on the shoulder, and asks politely if I want to respond to this particular question) and then I answer it, or more commonly, because by this point I have no real memory of the question, say "Pardon?". The delay makes my husband laugh, when it's not irritating him! It's like talking to me via satellite. I'm sure people think I'm ignoring them, or doing it on purpose, but I promise I'm not!

So what books do you select for a baby, toddler, little girl, when you are a big reader yourself, and have such a specific view on what you like and dislike?

Well, I've tried to be as open as possible. To regularly visit my local library (most libraries do a weekly 'story time' session for babies and toddlers which is free!). I allow my daughters to look through the children's books themselves (no matter what mess they make in the process - I simply do a quick tidy up when we're finished). I try and let my girls to pick the story books themselves and not 'edit' their choices with comments like "Oh, that one doesn't look very good ,love, how about this one instead". Though I still do that more than I'd like.

As a result of letting them pick, we've discovered some gems! I thought I'd share them here.

My 4 year olds' favourite story at the moment is "Fancy Nancy". Written by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser, published by HarperCollins Children's Books originally in the U.S.A in 2006, then in Great Britain in 2007, it's a 32 page picture book about Nancy and was a Number 1 New York Times bestseller. Nancy loves being fancy. Sparkly shoes, feather boas, flower covered hats and ACCESSORIES! It's a brilliant story that my daughter clearly identifies with. And there are another 5 in the series. Only, be prepared to get a little bit fancier yourself! (then enter Fancy Nancy into the Search engine on the top right.)

Julia Donaldson has obviously written one of the most famous of children's stories, "The Gruffalo". It's one that the elder has only just got into. But one of her utmost favourites over the last 3 years has been Julia's picture book "Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose". Illustrated by Nick Sharratt and published by Macmillan Children's Books, it's a 24 page picture book about a dinner party for animals. Good manners are few, but fun is had by all. It's a lovely, rhyming story, with excellent pictures and opportunity for practising animal noises if you want to get imaginative! Though I'm not sure what noises the Gazelle and Hyena may make! (and enter the title into the search engine)

A recent discovery for my 4 year old is "The Fabulous Fairy Feast" written and illustrated by Sue Heap and published by Egmont. A 32 page picture book (with 2 pages that open out to the side for the scene in the wood! This story is, again, beautifully written. It isn't a rhyming story, but it does have some lovely little rhyming sections. The pace of the writing is excellent, making it fun to read out loud. And I particularly like the fact that Lizzie Little-Fairy has a pet frog called Burp and a flying pink bicycle! (again search for the title)

Finally a couple of choices for the 1 year old in the family.

Firstly a set of books illustrated by Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo's illustrator!), published by Campbell Books, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Books. The collection of 4 books is called "Animal Rhymes", and contains "Freddy the Frog", "Lizzie the Lamb", "Katie the Kitten" and "Pip the Puppy". Short rhyming 8 page story books with beautiful pictures, with plenty for little fingers to point out. (search for title)

Secondly, the classic of course, Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". No need for fancy furry bits in the book. No need for flaps, or pull outs. Just a few well chosen holes where the little caterpillar has eaten. Watch the giggling start when you put your fingers at the back of the page to tickle your child's finger when they put it through the holes! It does mean that there is one particular page (where the caterpillar eats a long list of scrumptious foods) that is a favourite, and it's hard to get the story moving past that page! Oh well. Never mind! (search by title)

I hope that gives you some ideas. I've added the links to the book publishers for more information, and if you like the look of them you should be able to get them from local libraries, even if you order them (which you can do for free!).

Have fun reading!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Nearly a Yummy Mummy! And avoiding tantrums some more!

Feeling much more like a Yummy Mummy this week!

I've rediscovered some clothes that I haven't worn for at least 5 years, but somehow seem to work this summer. I've also topped up my casual collection with a couple of this season's Maxi dresses. It beats Jeans and a dodgy t-shirt...and both dresses are washable for a change! (Monsoon if you're interested!)

I'm off to have my initial fitness test at the Gym tonight. Regular readers will be confused, since I joined the Gym back in January. I did have the initial assessment booked in then, but had to cancel, and as every mummy will know, it takes forever for something that I need to arrange for me to get back up to the top of the to-do list. So I've only just re-booked it. Poor, I know!

I've had to refrain from any alcohol or caffeine for 24 hours before it. I also can't eat for 4-5 hours before. It's booked for 5.30pm. I've done 1 hour already, but won't be able to eat until at least 7.30pm since I'll return home and jump straight into the girls story time routine. Not sure how I'll cope with no food for that long. I'm sure I'll get chocolate withdrawal! I'll let you know how I get on...

Oh.... my feeling of Yummy Mumminess is also down to 'relaxing'. I've been telling myself to chill out this week. Every time I feel the tension building, or hear my voice raising, I am consciously saying the next sentence more slowly and quietly. And taking a deep breath. I've arrived places a little later than I would have liked as a result. It would appear that I can't relax without slowing the pace of everything I do. But I guess I can just leave a little more time. And to be fair, I've not been actually late yet! I've found the best trigger to get me in this calm and happy state of mind is listening to the Crazy Love album by Micheal Buble. There are some great feel good tunes on there!

I haven't been leaving any tips on parenting recently though. I guess my tip for this week is just that; to relax. It seems to keep the children more relaxed and less liable to tantrums.

So take a breath. Pause. Smile to yourself. Hum a tune! Then carry on.

Just make sure the tune isn't something by Metallica. I'm not entirely sure that would lead to the calm quietness I'm thinking of!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Still washing clothes....

Got back from hols last Friday. But still had the washing machine going constantly today, and I feel like I've spent the whole last week simply putting washing on the line, taking it off again and ironing it.

Remind me to take advantage of the laundry service on hols next time... it can't be that expensive surely!??

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Cambrils Park Holiday Review - Sunny Spain!

Just got back from two weeks in sunny Spain. This year we were struggling to find somewhere that could beat the brilliant family holiday we had last year in Menorca (Santa Tomas if you're interested). Last year's holiday involved a three bedroom apartment; so that Grandma and Grandad could come along; a brilliant splash pool of about 40cm deep with slides and squirters, and a 10 minute walk to the beach. OK make that 5 minutes!

How could we beat that?

My friend recommended Eurocamp. On the basis of our stay in Cambrils Park (between Cambrils and Salou on the Costa Dorada), she'll be promoted to best friend! It was brilliant. The site is immaculate. There are gardeners constantly watering the grass, trimming the hedges, planting, painting fences. General maintenance done with real pride. We wimped out and stayed in one of the Aloha bungalows rather than a tent! A 2 bedroom one for us. Another 2 bedroom one for the Grandparents, just opposite. Kitchen/Lounge area. Bathroom (with bath! And shower over). Microwave. Satellite TV (All in Spanish, but we could watch the World Cup on it!). Fridge/Freezer. An abundance of fresh towels and bedlinen seemingly every other day (though I think it's twice a week).

Then there's the pools. We basically ignored the main pool. Though it's more than sufficient, with a small baby pool just next to it, and a couple of slides into it. It's next to the main restaurants, where the entertainment takes place on a large decking area in the middle of the pool.

The pools we spent our time around were the batch of three pools down between the southerly reception and the main pool. Here you find a splash pool (0.4m) with 4 enormous elephants squirting water, a dragon slide, 3 other slides and other sprayers, all brilliantly sized for the elder who has recently turned 4. It even has a small roped off area where the younger could toddle about in the water up to her waist away from the slightly more boisterous little ones.

And that's just the start! Adjoining that pool is a 1m deep pool suitable for adult swimming or supervised children swimming with inflatables etc. across from this duo of delights was the new Pirate ship pool. A Lagoon style pool with sloped entrance, and 2 smaller slides for toddlers (depth about 0.6m at bottom of these slides), then up the deep end there was a water flume and a large wide slide coming off the pirate ship.

If that wasn't enough, there's a pool designed for adults (but still with shallow entrances) with jacuzzi style sections for relaxing if you get a minute!

Frankly, between the pool and the beach (about 10 minutes walk down the hill and over the railway line), I'm amazed we went anywhere else. But we did. The Roman capital of Spain, Tarragona, is lovely, and the girls loved the tourist choo-choo train, which took us round the main sites with an audio commentary if you want it. Another tourist train at Salou kept us and the girls happy, and huge markets at all the local towns were full of cheap, but decent quality shoes, clothes, handbags... basically a girls heaven.

And not wanting to quite move away from the subject.... the markets all had 'bra' stalls. Decent bra's for 2 euros. Once I'd worked out the translation of my size into European, and tried them on over my clothes, just like the locals, I bought 3! And considered seriously stocking up. If it wasn't for that pesky baggage allowance I would have!

So, if you're stuck for a holiday... get yourself down to Cambrils Park. We booked direct with Eurocamp (over the phone!) and booked a cot, highchair and potty (all free). Then we booked flights separately with RyanAir direct from Birmingham to Reus. In this case RyanAir was particularly brilliant because, although they tend to call Reus a "Barcelona" airport (even though it's 200km away) Reus is actually a lovely town about 15 minutes drive from Cambrils. So perfect!

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Bra Saga Continues........

Ok, so I´m resigned to the wierd hooks that we universally use to adjust our bras. But I´ve beaten them. Or they´ve beaten me. Depends on your point of view! I´m wearing standard bras, under little vests, with the halterneck dresses on top. It´s layering used to effect. And it´ll certainly do for now.

Or at least it would do. If it weren´t for the fact that my favourite two bras (same design, different colours, La Senza), hadn´t both decided to pop their respective wires out within a day of each other.

And before you say it... I know. I´ll just have to avoid wearing those underwired styles.

But I love those underwired styles. I only stayed out of those underwired styles for my two bouts of pregnancy and breastfeeding, just as recommended. And as soon as I could, I was back in them.

And why should I have to avoid them? Is it that difficult to design some that retain their wires for a certain guaranteed period. Perhaps they could sell them on that basis. You know..... like cars.... guaranteed for three years, or they´ll replace for free.

Maybe the world is against me wearing bras at all! I hope not. I´m not eighteen or a full-time dancer anymore!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

My Bra is driving me crazy!

This week I have learnt that; in order to be a Yummy Mummy; a decent bra is paramount. I have bought a couple of new summer maxi dresses. Yes, I know. This is my pathetic attempt at being on-trend, and vaguely with-it, this summer.

My problem is simple. Both of these new purchases require non-standard bra fittings. I have a multiway bra, so I figured that this wouldn´t be a problem. I couldn´t have been more wrong.

Last time I used the bra in question it was in the usual style. So, last night, I´m sat there, one year old fidgetting next to me, trying to unhook one of the straps, in order to reattach it to the other strap, to create the halterneck.

Ten minutes it took me. Just to undo it. Another ten to ram it into the other slot. Only to discover, once I finally got the thing on, and thrown the dress over the top, that the dress I´d opted for actually wasn´t a proper halterneck, and had a partial back in it. I needed to adjust the straps again, to cross-over at the back. Ok, so that was my mistake. But being constantly distracted is a usual state of being for most mummys. So surely the bra should be designed with ease of use in mind?

More fiddling....

By this time, the one year old had had enough, was bored, and was trying to pull the bra out of my hands whilst I´m trying to fix the thing back together. That made it easier.....

My question today is this. Who invented those bra hooks that look like they will easily just slot in and out, but actually, because of the thickness of the material involved, and the extreme hook shape, require pliers just to get them on and off?

And in what world do yummy mummy´s actually have the time to be messing about with them?

It´s just a thought, but press-studs anyone?

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Race for Life!

On Sunday I took part in the Nottingham Race for Life in support of Cancer Research UK. It's the first time I've ever took part in something like that. I'm very excited about my medal! More excited than I expected to be!

Alright, so I didn't run it all. But I ran at the start, walked at top pace throughout, and ran the last stretch, completing the 5 km in 43 mins. And so far I've raised £150... not bad. Thank you to everyone who's sponsored me. If you haven't yet, and would like to contribute to my fundraising effort, please visit (link now closed)

I'm aching a lot more than I thought I would. Reminds me how unfit I am. But then I suppose, when I haven't been to the gym in weeks due to illness, I can't expect much else. And when I do go, I manage once a week if I'm lucky.

So I have a question. How do mums find time for exercise? Those of you who manage it; could you please share your secrets!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Definately NOT Yummy Mummy this week!

I've lost half a stone over the last week. I've not exercised though. And it's not a weight loss method I'd recommend! I've been stuck in bed, getting cabin fever, not eating at all. And I mean at all. Not even chocolate. (I know!)

I've lived on 1 slice of bread a day, because that's been the most I could face. My chivalrous husband has held the fort for the week, dropping off the girls to Nursery, picking them up, arranging extra childcare for them with Grandparents, and then getting them home to bed.... all whilst I've been sat on the sofa, barely able to move. Flu remedies not helping with the hot sweats at all.

What's caused all this? Tonsillitis.

I remember getting it a lot as a kid, but I don't remember it feeling this bad! I finally; 5 days in, when I felt I was getting worse instead of better; managed to get a lift down to the local GP surgery and was immediately diagnosed and prescribed Penicillin. I must have been bad. I thought they kept that locked up behind Bellagio level security these days.

It's only when you're ill you really appreciate the support network you have. One of my friends stepped in and looked after the youngest for a day (you know who you are - thanks!), both sets of grandparents were brilliant. The girls, despite not really understanding why mummy was so grumpy, were so good and very gentle with me, considering. And of course, my man looked after us all, whilst still working full time.

I love you all. Thank you.

Definitely didn't win any yummy mummy prizes this week though... I barely managed to get out of my pyjamas. Never mind. The medicine is doing it's thing. I'm back at work. We managed to do the elder's birthday party, and I'm sure the weight loss might help a little to streamline those hips in summer outfits. (fingers crossed x)

Sunday, 16 May 2010

3 steps to stop a tantrum...

Some more tips on parenting today. I can't pretend to be expert. I only share what works for us! I'll be talking about make-up cleansers next time - because I've been getting spots since wearing make-up this last 6 months, and I can only assume it's due to not cleansing it properly at night. So any advice would be good!

Anyway - back to the issue of 'tantrums', or as I call them 'bottom lip moments'!

1. If the tantrum is threatening to start because you have said "No" in response to a request for something, immediately get down to your child's level. If they are talking, wait patiently for a pause, and then say "(Name of Child), Mummy has said No. That means No."

2. If the issue is one of timing, then you can follow this, before they get chance to interrupt ideally, with a brief explanation why. And it should be brief. For example; "You cannot have a chocolate biscuit now, because we are going to have dinner in a minute. If you behave nicely, and eat up your dinner, you may be able to have something chocolaty for pudding". Be careful to actually allow this if you promise it. If you don't want them to have a biscuit at all, then no promises of one later should be made. Above all you need to be trustworthy!

3. Immediately distract the child with an activity. "Come on; let's do some sticking before dinner"

The response is likely to be either; a full on, bottom lip out, stamping feet, crying tantrum. Or, an obliging child, sufficiently told, happy(ish) to do 'sticking' for the time being. If you do get the tantrum, you have one extra step of your choice.

Either, you warn the child that if they continue to scream and shout after you've counted to five, they will have to go on the Naughty Step. And follow it through.

Or, state clearly that you will not discuss this anymore, and turn your attention away from the child (either by going out of the room, or turning to play with another sibling, actively making a big deal out of the fun you and the other child are having.)

I find these methods work really well. I rarely manage to count to five. And when the elder does stop sniffling, and is clearly making an effort to calm down, I immediately stop counting and revert to the distraction activity again, but making a big deal about how well she has done to calm down. "Well done! We can go and do some sticking now. We don't want to be crying do we. Let's quickly blow your nose," (move child across the room, or into another room) "and we'll get those Dora stickers out. Cor! There's a lot of stickers here. Shall we make a card, or a picture?"

Throwing more questions her way makes her think about something else. And moving her, even if just to get a tissue, is distracting because her environment changes. And if I'm lucky, the episode ends there.

I hope that's helpful. Let me know if anyone has any other methods for dealing with those 'bottom lip' moments!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

How to manage "Bath time"... finally

I've had trouble signing in over the last couple of days. Sorry about that.

I promised to talk about "bath time" didn't I. Well, here it goes.

Bath time is actually my favourite part of the day. It didn't used to be. In fact when I first had my second, I was really worried about it. I just couldn't work out the logistics in my head. At the time we had a two year old toddler who went up for bath at 6pm, and was asleep between 7 and half past. How was I going to fit in another baby's bath time and still have them in bed by 7pm?

It turned out that the answer changed as the ages of the girls changed. Early on, when the younger was still breastfeeding in the her first three months, we'd bathe her in the baby bath on the floor in the bathroom either after the elder had got in the big bath (and was happily playing), or with the elder helping us clean the younger's toes before she then got in the big bath herself. Then I'd be sat on the toilet seat breastfeeding the younger, whilst the elder was playing. Luckily the elder, at 2 and a half, was old enough to be able to dress herself with minimum help. I'd dry her with one hand (younger in the other) and we'd go into the elder's bedroom for stories. Stories would be read (the younger still feeding). Finally I'd leave the elder to look at her books for 5 minutes whilst I took the younger into her room next door, gave her a final cuddle and popped her in her cot.

The younger very quickly learnt to go to sleep unaided. To the extent that today, at 20 months, she won't fall asleep on my knee. Something I occassionally miss! If in her room, she will point to the cot and start whining if she thinks you're taking too long getting her in bed. She has always had to fall asleep on her own.

Don't get me wrong. I didn't leave a screaming baby on her own. Just a whinging one for a short time! But having another child teaches you that they both need and deserve your attention. And if you are on your own, then they have to take turns. If the younger wasn't settling well, I'd read the elder a story, then pop in and see the younger, then pop back to the elder and so on; leaving the younger to mither (it's definitely different from crying) for a few minutes at a time. Often those few minutes were all it took, and off to sleep she went. Because this happened from day one, I didn't get to the controlled crying stage that we had to go through with the elder.

Bath time now, is of course, completely different. They both go in together. And I spend the whole time telling them to "sit down", "don't drink the water", "share the toys" .... You get the idea. Action songs are a good distraction if you still have enough wits about you to remember to launch into song.

But in all cases, the key thing to remember at bath time is this; before they get in the bath, make sure that everything, and I mean everything, you will need is within arms reach of your position at the side of that bath. Towels, nappies, wipes, baby lotion, pyjamas, clean pants for toddlers, slippers, shampoo, sponges, changing mat.... If you need it, have it there. Because once they are in, you can't walk away from that bath for even a second. At the very least, they'll be drinking the water when you return, and the worst... well, you know. So please, please, please, don't take your eyes off them, and don't move more than arms length away. (I've had a couple of major saves of the younger, when she's tried to stand up in the bath, one foot off the bathmat, slipped, and I've caught her before she hit her head. And when she was small, and just sitting up, she lost her seated balance on more than one occasion in all the excitement, and simply fell backwards. Again, my arm was there. I may be paranoid. But I don't risk it at bath time.

One final thing. If you have tiled floors in your bathroom, don't let the toddlers run around in there. Mine have slipped on the wet floor. Only last week I saved the younger's head from hitting the tiles, with my slippered foot and hand. Now they go from bath, to knee, to slippers, to carpeted bedrooms.

I said it was my favourite part of the day. It is. From teatime onwards my girls know our routine. And because that part of the day is always the same, they are calmer. As I am. We all know what to expect.

Above all, have fun. (oh, and get one of the those suction pad net bags for all the toys. Genius)

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

I'm Loosing my Mind!

I went to a 1st birthday party on Sunday. It was my nephew's. My mum had given me a present to take along to the gathering from her and my dad. Did I take it?

Of course not, because I'm clearly loosing my mind. I seem to forget everything at the moment. If you've not had a birthday card from me, then I apologise. If I've forgotten to ring, having said I would, then I'm sorry.

I keep telling myself that I have so many things to remember, it's only natural that some things will slip through the net. And of course we focus on the forgetting, rather than on the many rememberings (is that even a word?)

On a completely different note, I've worked out how to bathe two toddlers and get them to bed within 2 hours now (just). This is a bit of a cliffhanger, as I'll share tomorrow..... (oooooooh, get me!)

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Make-up Discovery and Race for Life!

I've discovered that I can look vaguely awake with the Clarins True Radiance Foundation and Concealer doing their thing for me! This is a big deal. I'm now wearing Foundation! I've never (and I do mean never) worn foundation before this year. I'd never worn tinted moisturizer before a year ago for goodness sake!

So I'm definately working on this Yummy Mummy thing.

Pilates again last night. Yep - in case you'd missed it, I've joined a Gym. I don't actually go to the Gym. This does make sense, honest! It's a 'classes only' membership. So I actually only ever go in the studio and do ridiculously difficult exercises that look, on appearance, really easy.

Must be working though. I ache 'everywhere' today!

I'm also signed up for the Race for Life in Nottingham on June 6th. I'm asking for sponsorship please! All pledges welcome. I can't pretend that I'll do anything other than walk it. But it's 5 km of walking for a good cause (on a Sunday), so hands in pockets please?


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