When babyland and normal land collide


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The first few weeks after having a baby are a blur of broken nights, dirty nappies, feeding and cuddles. You exist in this cocoon, a bubble away from normal land, where everything is focused on your new little bundle and their needs. Gradually, as the weeks pass, the bubble starts to get smaller until it pops, and you realise that you’re no longer in babyland, you now live in normal land, with a baby.

This is all very nice as long as things run smoothly. Normal land requires you to have half a brain, you see. You need to remember stuff – appointments, school activities, work meetings and how to access your email. It’s very difficult to take part properly in normal land if your baby has been up most of the night and is having a growth spurt-related feeding frenzy. You just want to keep your PJs on and go back to the days when you could sleep when your baby sleeps, like you did when you lived in babyland.

This week has been the first since my second baby was born ten weeks ago, where I’ve felt physically torn between babyland and normal land. My baby girl’s first noticeable growth spurt (which has meant a couple of days where she’s fed every two hours throughout the night and every hour during the day) has coincided with the busiest week in my four year old’s school calendar.  Continue reading »

Things to do in Hampshire with the Family in 2015




Before we moved to Devon we lived in Berkshire – right next door to Hampshire. It’s a brilliant place to live, near London but full of fun family-friendly days out too.

Whether it’s commercial kid-friendly heaven you want or a more laid-back day out then you’ll find it in Hampshire. Here are some suggestions to get you started… Continue reading »

Is there an optimum age for Christmas?


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Polar ExpressI remember when I was in my early twenties and hearing people say Christmas becomes even more fun when you have kids, and thinking, “Yeah, whatever.” I mean – when you have kids of your own it puts you firmly in the role of “Fun Maker” instead of “Fun Taker”. You have to worry about grown-up things like how long it’ll take to cook the turkey and whether all the presents have been wrapped. Christmas as a parent must be rubbish, yes?

Well no, actually. Since I’ve become a mum I’ve loved Christmas even more than ever (and I loved it a whole lot to start off with). There’s something infectious about my four year old’s excitement as the day draws nearer. It makes doing all those pre-Christmas activities totally worth it.

Christmas has always been pretty amazing since Frog was born – even on her first Christmas when our oven broke and we had to go to my parents’ for an emergency Christmas Day. This year though, it’s something else.  Continue reading »

School shoes for a hypermobile tot


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School shoes

It’s not something I write so much about these days, but my four year old has hypermobile joints. It doesn’t affect us hugely now she can walk, but we had a rocky time when she was a non-toddling toddler. Put simply, her joints are too flexible, which meant she struggled to walk until she was two years old and needed special boots plus plenty of physiotherapy. She still occasionally has physio treatment and, when she broke her leg last summer, she had to have extra sessions to learn to walk again.

These days, her hypermobility is often something we forget about. She can run and jump with the best of them. But when it comes to choosing shoes for Frog we’ve struggled.  Continue reading »

Confessions of a baby spammer


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Baby spam

Mixed in with the sleepless nights, bowling ball boobs and baby brain, there’s one more thing that I’d forgotten happens to you when you have a baby: you can’t stop taking photos.

There are the sleeping photos. (Baby sleeping. Baby sleeping in new position. Baby sleeping while being cuddled. Baby sleeping in new baby-grow. Baby sleeping on grandparents. Baby sleeping in moses basket.)

Then there are the awake photos. (Baby pulling funny face. Baby pulling another funny face. Baby wind face. Baby in cute outfit while looking thoroughly unimpressed.)

Then there are the “firsts photos”. (First bath. First outing outside of the house. First trip to the supermarket. First time in car seat. First trip to the park. First time in pram.)  Continue reading »

Swollen pregnant feet and my new boots


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40 weeks pregnantWhen I was about eight months pregnant I bought a new pair of boots. They were a cute leopard print number with laces and an ankle high shape. And could I fit my fat pregnant feet into them? Could I heck.

As I tried to squeeze my puffy toes into these pretty little boots I felt very like one of the ugly sisters. I was determined, but the boot wouldn’t budge. I’m not sure, but I think it’s likely I cried.

You see, for me, the one thing that plagued the entire second half of my pregnancy was fat feet. I got to know both my feet intimately throughout those months, as I massaged and pummelled them, in an attempt to reduce the puffiness.  Continue reading »

My family holiday legacy from the 1990s


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French holiday

If there’s one thing I want to pass onto my children as they grow up, it’s the memory of summers spent as a family, exploring somewhere new. This is a legacy that comes from my own parents who took me and my sister on long adventures every summer, travelling to every corner of France.

Growing up with two teachers as parents meant we were lucky enough to have a full six weeks to play during the holidays. We took our first trip to France when I was around six years old, heading to a campsite in Brittany. I can still remember the excitement waking up on the back seat of our car, wrapped in a sleeping bag, looking out of the window to see a huge ferry waiting to take us away to somewhere new.

Over the years we built up traditions associated with our holidays. The family dance around the kitchen while chanting, “HOLIDAY! HOLIDAY! HOLIDAY!” on the last day of term. The sleepy 4am wake-up, when me and my sister would be scooped from our beds still in our pyjamas, before being deposited on the back seat of the car ready to wake up properly at the ferry port. And that first trip to the supermarket to stock up on our favourite French treats (Orangina out of glass bottles – bliss). Continue reading »

On driving and marital disagreements


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Marital arguments

I reckon there’s one place that sees more marital arguments than anywhere else. Forget the bedroom, it’s all about the car.

The first argument I ever had with the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine was in his car. I can’t remember the finer details but it had something to do with a disagreement over the speed limit. Sound familiar?

We’re not an argumentative couple, but I think it’s safe to say that 99% of our rows have been in the car. If it’s not over directions then it’s to do with speed, missed road signs or dodgy parking. It doesn’t help that we’re usually running late, which adds to the pressure.

One of our most heated arguments took place on the way to the hospital when I was in labour with Frog. “DON’T DRIVE SO FAST!” I shouted at the NLM. “I’M GOING 40! THE SPEED LIMIT’S 40!” He yelled back. The rest is lost in a midst of contractions and deep breathing.  Continue reading »

The ostentatious breastfeeder


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I wish I could say I’m surprised to see that four years on from when I was last a mum to a tiny baby, nothing much has changed. The “Is it OK to breastfeed in public?” debate still rages on. Yawn.

Nigel Farage has waded into the debate this time, saying mums should not breastfeed “ostentatiously“, but sit quietly in a corner somewhere out of sight. By “ostentatious” I can only assume he means getting up on a table in the middle of a cafe with one breast in our baby’s mouth and the other bedecked in a flamboyant nipple tassle, while doing high kicks or – even better – twerking. Continue reading »

Baby buys: is a video monitor worth the cash?


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When I was a new mum four years ago the first piece of kit I bought was a baby monitor. It looked like a walkie-talkie and crackled if you took it too far out of range. During the first few months though, there really was little point in me having a monitor. I was so anxious about leaving my baby in another room that I practically cellotaped the monitor to my face, before repeatedly checking on her at least every ten minutes.

Fast-forward four years and I’m a new mum again to another baby girl. At the moment during the day this baby tends to sleep on me in her sling, as we’re out and about for the school run and trips to the park with my eldest. She’s now eight weeks old and a couple of weeks ago we passed a pretty big baby milestone: putting baby girl down to bed in the evening.

Tired baby

Continue reading »