Wednesday, 11 October 2017

TrackR pixel - Review and Giveaway!

I dislike stereotypes. That said, I am stereotypically bad at finding ANYTHING in my handbag beneath the crumpled up receipts, used tissues (I know - gross), boiled sweets and biros. So you can understand the predicament I find myself in when having to search not just my handbag but the whole house, quite often to find my keys which one of my darling offspring has decided to pilfer and hide.

So you can guess my delight at being offered the opportunity to review the TrackR pixel bluetooth locator. It's a clever little device which allows you to locate lost items via an app on your smartphone. 


Saturday, 7 October 2017

How To Make Home-Cooked Potato Peeling Crisps

This recipe for home-cooked potato peeling crisps from BBC Food popped up on my Facebook feed the other day and I knew immediately I had to give them a go. Okay, so they're probably not the healthiest snack in the world, but you need something to crunch on in between slurps of cool, crisp chardonnay, right?



The recipe appealed to me for a number of reasons: they're very simple to make, they require very few ingredients, and they are a great way to use up the peelings leftover from a mashed potato masterpiece.

I'm also hoping that the next time we have friends over for nibbles, it'll make me look like some sort of fantastic snack wizard. Fingers crossed.

Friday, 22 September 2017

9 Lessons I've Learned as a Parent

It's a long old slog. But as I say goodbye to the 'baby' stage and my sons grow into little boys, I've been reflecting a little on what I've learned in the early years.


1. A broken lift can ruin your day


The shoes are on, the change bag is packed and the baby's in a fresh nappy. Stage 1 of my plan is complete. I arrive at my destination and park up successfully. As an added bonus, the baby's fallen asleep and stays asleep as I pack him into his buggy. I'm onto a winner. Stage 2 - BOOM. 

Now all that's left is to stroll into the upmarket department store, navigate my way past the fancy bags and shoes that no longer warrant buying, shimmy up in the lift to the nice, clean, cake-laden cafe on the top floor and slurp myself into a coffee coma.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

How to Make Red Berry Liqueur (in Time for Christmas)

It's sad to think we're moving into Autumn and towards Winter but, to cheer you up when the nights start closing in and the kids have walked puddles of muddy slush all through your kitchen, here's a delightfully warming recipe I picked up from Good Housekeeping magazine back in 2011. The good news is that this only needs a month at most to mature and doesn't need any specialist equipment, so you can easily start it in the next month or so and it'll be ready for Christmas. Then all you have to do is pop on your slippers, curl up with Strictly and enjoy a tiny tot of this gloriously rosy liquid sipped from your favourite glass.


Despite having pasted this recipe into my recipe scrapbook six years ago (how is it that long ago?) this is actually only the second time I've made it. Though not due to any fault of it's own, that's for sure.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

PJ Masks Magazine - Review

I'm not sure I can remember a time before PJ Masks was in our lives, it's now such a firm favourite with the boys, especially Little O. So I was absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to review the brand new PJ Masks magazine which went on sale this month.




Sunday, 27 August 2017

My Top Ten Favourite Cuddles

I'm holding my hands up: this is the fluffiest of fluffy posts. Fluffier than a Pomeranian puppy. Fluffier than an Eighties blow-dry. Fluffier even than the contents of your granddad's belly button.

You get the picture, so let's get to it.


10. The Upside-down One

This is not altogether dissimilar to a wrestling move I saw once in telly. Your arms may be around their waist but you are most definitely not face to face. Much to your detriment. But if you can hold the move for the customary 10 seconds, it's classed as a cuddle win.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

I'm Not Ready To Be A 'Mum'

Something diabolical has happened.

Little O has started calling me 'Mum'.

I know it's not like he's started calling me 'Homer' or anything but still - I'm 'Mummy' not 'Mum'. 

Mums have school age children and make packed lunches and arrange sleepovers. I still have all those things yet to come. I'm not there yet. I'm not ready to be a Mum.




Wednesday, 2 August 2017

How To Make Homemade Red Gooseberry Wine

When my mother-in-law passed me the massive bag of red gooseberries, I had two choices: I could either make them into something to eat, or something to drink. Taking the vote to social media, the response was overwhelmingly in favour of the latter (no surprise there).


My next choice was whether to follow the recipe in my 'Drink Your Own Garden' book which happens to be as old as I am (no googling, please!) or to just ask my mum who, by all accounts, has been home-brewing just as long. 

Maybe it was giving birth to me that turned her onto it, who knows?

Anyway, again I chose the latter. Mainly because I find mum's method much simpler and also it requires less jiggery-pokery involving enzymes and other chemicals I've never heard of.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Why Parenting Needs Positive Thinking

Let's get this over and done with.

Parenting is hard. I know. I've been there and I'm still there. I'm talking about the early (and not so early) days when you would willingly palm your precious bundle off to the postman, the bus driver, a neighbour, the guy on the doorstep offering to replace your fascia. Anybody. Just to get some kip.




Tuesday, 4 July 2017

8 Times I Missed Out On A Celebrity Autograph

David Beckham


I was walking back from my lunch hour, and had just turned the corner out of Carnaby Street when I happened to glance up at a man walking past me in the opposite direction. He wore a baseball cap and was surrounded by five or six men who looked like they worked out regularly. 

It was only after he'd passed me by that it struck me. Hang on, I thought. Was that who I thought it was? Surely not, could it be? Yes, yes it was. 

You might know him as 'Becks', 'DB7', 'Golden Balls', 'The Beckster', 'Becky From The Block'*, 'Lord Beckingham', or as I like to call him, simply 'our Dave'. It was, indeed, Mr David Beckham. 



Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Lost in Vegetation: When Little O Went AWOL

"Where is he?" I asked.

"I don't know," replied S. "I was in the animal barn and he just ran off. By the time I got outside, I couldn't see him."

Little O is 3. Neither the shouty tellings-off nor the calm explanations have gotten the message across yet that he mustn't run off. I've told him that he mustn't do it, that if he wants to go somewhere he must ask Mummy or Daddy first, that if he runs off and we don't know where he is, he'll be lost. I've lied and said we'll have to go home without him. I've told him off severely when he's done it nevertheless. I've tried everything - and will keep trying, until he gets it. 

Today it's a farm, tomorrow it could be a road.



Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Voice of Fear Can Never Win

Dear Voice of Fear,

You're not winning. I just thought I'd point out that fundamental fact.

In this thing we've named 'the war on terror', I reckon, right now, the judges are probably sneaking a look at their watches and hoping no-one's pilfered their sandwich from the staff fridge.

Because it's obvious. No matter what happens, we will keep on living.


It's not that we don't care about the tragic effects of these cowardly endeavours, because we do. But it's the fact we care that makes us so strong. 

You're like a tick on the belly of a faithful dog. You're trying with all your might to suck out it's life force, but that dog will carry on fetching that ball, and chasing that pigeon, and farting gloriously in it's sleep.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

How NOT to road trip with kids

Summer's coming. And that can only mean one thing: traipsing across the country to visit friends or family, attending weddings, making memories at the seaside, or risking your precious sanity at a theme park (all hail those who've battled Peppa Pig World and survived).



There was a time, not that long ago, when travelling to my parents' house meant three and a half hours of napping, snacking and intentionally avoiding any kind of strenuous mental exercise, save for the gratuitous 'what's your beach style?' quiz in whatever magazine I'd settled on from WHSmith. This was, of course, back in the days when I could book a ticket for one on Virgin Trains and request a table seat just for the hell of it, rather than because I needed the space for Paw Patrol colouring books and a hoard of Cadbury chocolate buttons.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

8 Fashion Trends I'm Glad To See The Back Of

We've all had our 'off' days, the fashion world included. Here's a few gems that I'd be more than happy not to stumble across in Vogue ever again (Okay, you got me - so not Vogue, maybe Look or the fashion page in the Evening Standard...):



1. Harem pants


Just – nope. You know who they look good on? Aladdin. And his genie friend. Certainly not me, that’s for sure.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Taste Inc - 100% Chargrilled Chicken Fillets - Review

It should be plain to anyone who follows my blog that I'm a big fan of food. And when Taste Inc got in touch and asked me to review their 100% Chargrilled Chicken Fillet portions - Ready To Eat - how could I refuse?



Each of the two flavours I was sent, 'Original' and 'Spicy', came in handy 35g pouches as part of a 5-portion multipack strip so are perfect as an on-the-go snack. 

Monday, 27 February 2017

The Six Words Every Mother Needs To Hear

I just need to sleep.

That was, undeniably, the main thought running through my head in the first few months after my eldest, Little O, was born. That, and ‘what the hell have I done’, ‘where did I put the sodding Sudocrem’ and wondering when my downstairs would stop feeling like the aftermath of a nuclear explosion.

It won’t be like this forever. That was what my mother-in-law said to me. It will get better.

I can’t remember exactly when she first said it. I can only assume it was on one of the many occasions I sat slumped at her kitchen table, face planted on the granite, coffee mug in hand.


Monday, 20 February 2017

Baby to Toddler, Toddler to Boy

So there I was, merrily mothering on, not realising that time was slipping like raspberry jelly through my fingers. All of a sudden, it was upon me: Baby Rs first birthday.

Where on earth has that year gone? Geez.

I swear, just a minute ago I was bent on all fours on the carpet urging him to ‘roll over, baby, roll over…’, then BOOM – he’s cruising around the kitchen and stealing the telly remote.



Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Hell Hath No Wrath Like a Scorpio Scorned

Little O was born mid-September and is therefore a Virgo. Surprisingly, I can already identify Virgoan qualities in his behaviour, even at the tender age of three.

He focuses well on activities, is attentive and astute and, I suspect, understands a lot more about what's going on around him than I give him credit for. And despite his ritualistic tantrums of toddler-dom, I won't be surprised if he's the type to keep his emotional cards close to his chest when he grows older. 


I, on the other hand, am seemingly incapable of keeping my feelings under wraps. And I don't think I can blame the hormones of motherhood because I've always been that way. 

Friday, 10 February 2017

8 Alternative Ways to Spend Valentine's Day

It’s that time of year again: the minivan flower-sellers are out, Clinton’s shop-fronts glisten, red-glittered and teddy-beared, on the high street and you can’t buy your M&S lunch without having to skirt the mountain of champagne bottles in the walkway (how very middle-class, daaarling).


Oh yes, what a wonderfully lovey-dovey, cuddly-wuddly time of year, a chance to snuggle down with a glass of plonk in front of a roaring gas fire and Love Actually. An opportunity to spend some quality time with your partner/spouse/family member/dog/cat/Xbox/that-bloke-from-Take-That’s discarded fag butt you traded your Discman for, back in 1994.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

10 Reasons I'm #RockingMotherhood

Thank you so much to Zoe at The Tale of Mummyhood for tagging me in  the #RockingMotherhood tag. Pop over and read the fabulous reasons she is rocking motherhood here.

Like most mums, I have moments (days) where I feel like I’m failing as a parent and find it difficult to think positively. The #RockingMotherhood tag is a marvellous way to recognise that, however difficult they find it, mothers do a fantastic job and need an opportunity to feel good about themselves and the role they play, every now and then.



I’m tagging Heledd at Yummy Blogger and Abi at Something About Baby to write about how they’re rocking motherhood and also, controversially, a daddy. It’s probably not allowed, but I don’t want to exclude the daddies as I reckon they’re rocking fatherhood too. I would suggest they #RockFatherhood but I fear they may then find themselves cast adrift on a hashtag dinghy, floating around Twitter with no one aware of their existence. So Ben (Daddy Poppins), if you want to be an honorary #RockingMotherhood, I hereby grant you permission.

Now, enough about them. Here are 10 reasons I (think I!) am rocking motherhood:

Friday, 27 January 2017

Why I'm NOT a working mum

I’ve been back at work for two weeks and already I can feel the old syndromes kicking in: destroying my posture by slouching forward onto my desk, resisting the need for caffeine, every hour, on the hour, feeling the urgency in every single task.

There’s a conflicting undercurrent in the office, a mixture of complete apathy and boredom offset by the sense that everything needs to be completed yesterday.

I’m tempted to refer to my return as a transition from ‘mum’ back to ‘working mum’ but I don’t think I will. I feel like that implies I’m returning from some sort of holiday, sun-kissed and full of energy, ready to once again face the trials and tribulations of schedule and responsibility. 

Like that’s a new thing for me. Pff.



Tuesday, 17 January 2017

3 Things You Have to Respect About Toddlers

It's hard being a toddler, both for the toddlers themselves and the parents. All those emotions and all that energy coursing around one tiny little uncoordinated body. It's a tough job working out how to express it all. Who can blame them when it all gets a bit much?

That's what my rational, caffeine-boosted brain reasons anyway.

At half five in the morning, pre-coffee, with (someone's) drool smeared across my face and a three-year old running around the bedroom singing 'Happy Birthday' (when it's not even my birthday), I might be inclined towards a different opinion.



Like it or not though, sometimes, despite whatever craziness is ensuing, I want to proffer the mightiest high-five to all the toddlers out there.

Here's why I think they deserve our respect:

Thursday, 12 January 2017

How Old Are You Anyway?

"You don't look very old."

I stared at the grey-haired till operative and considered responding with "No I don't. But you do."

Her question annoyed me. It was clear she was fighting an internal battle over whether to ask for ID or not. I looked young for my age, but there was also an increasingly long line of customers waiting behind me, and insisting on verification would only make the grumpy queue grumpier.


I wouldn't have minded if she'd asked for ID. At the time, I was in my mid-20's but was fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it) to appear in my late teens, so was used to having my age queried.

But she hadn't asked, she'd dithered, and her resulting statement felt more like an unnecessary accusation. Like I was subtly trying to get away with some cheeky underage purchasing and this was my opportunity to own up before she called in the Feds.

To make the situation a whole lot worse, sitting on the conveyor belt between us sat not a bottle of whisky, nor a set of knives. Not even a second-hand AK47.