Teaching kids the true meaning of Christmas FAIL

You can't teach kids the true meaning of Christmas. I mean you can, if the true meaning is presents, presents, presents and more presents. Obviously you can teach them to humour you, to tell you all the stuff they know you want to hear, about Christmas being a time to show gratitude, love your family, be kind etc etc. But when it comes down to it? It's about the presents. This is the first year my seven year old has been fully consumed by Christeria, as her pre-Christmas excitement levels reach a dangerously hysterical peak. And we're not even into December yet. As a fellow-Christmas lover ... read more

My five year secret

It started when I was little. I remember sleep-overs with friends when we'd pretend to draw on each other's backs and guess what the picture was. Or sometimes it would be a specific sound - the rustling of paper or a teacher's voice as she'd read the class a story. I never spoke aloud of my "tingles", in fact I don't think I ever really put the feeling into words at all. It wasn't until much later - at the age of 29 - that I finally found a name for it. "ASMR" or "Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response" has since been coined as a term to describe the pleasant tingling sensation that would ... read more

Breastfeeding a three year old – the end

Last night, exactly three years and one month to the day she was born, Effie stopped breastfeeding. I never thought I'd be the kind of mum who would be breastfeeding a three year old, it just worked out that way. "Boobie" was always such a huge source of comfort for my tactile youngest child that, a couple of weeks ago when we tried to force her to go cold turkey, it was so distressing for everyone that I gave in. I couldn't sit by and watch my three year old get hysterical to the point of vomiting when there was something so easy I could give her to stop it all in seconds. Yet here we ... read more

The best day ever and staying healthy in autumn #nodulldays

I love this time of year. It might sound controversial but as soon as the clocks go back I get a little chill of excitement at being cosy - candles and blankets come into their own and I actively look forward to evenings on the sofa and weekend movie afternoons at home. Although I get dragged kicking and screaming into autumn, once the clocks go back I accept there's nothing to be done and start to properly embrace it. As much as the days in are comforting though, I'm aware I don't want anyone in my family to lose out on their essential Vitamin D from the sunshine, which isn't always easy ... read more

Half Term Lessons: Experiences don’t have to be expensive to be magical

I learned a lesson over half term. Actually, it's something I knew already but apparently I needed to be reminded. Children don't need experiences to be big or expensive or hugely flamboyant for them to be magical. A fun memory doesn't need to cost loads of money for it to become an important one. This might seem like a really obvious fact but it's one I think I'd lost sight of somewhere along the way - and, to be honest, I don't think I'm the only one. Take Christmas, for example. I love Christmas. I'm totally down with having the whole of December dedicated to festive merriment (just ... read more

Tempting a fussy eating toddler back to food #NoJunkJourney

Looking back, I think we were pretty lucky. Freya was never a fussy toddler and, at the age of seven, she eats pretty much anything. In fact, her favourite food is moules mariniere! Her sister, on the other hand, has proven to be a very different customer entirely. When it comes to fussy eating, each day is a new adventure. What Effie will devour with gusto one day she'll turn her nose up at the next. This is a new phase - and I know it's just that, a phase. But when you've slaved for half an hour over a delicious home-cooked meal from scratch it's hard not to take it personally when your ... read more

Girls’ bedroom makeover reveal – a pink, mint and gold haven

How many photos is too many in a blog post? This post might be the record... It's been a couple of months in the making but the girls' bedroom makeover is finally finished. We chose a pink, mint and gold colour palette to reflect some of their favourite things: ice-cream, iced donuts, macaroons and candy floss. All the really healthy stuff, then (!). We decided to put them in a shared room after the success of them sharing on holiday last summer. Freya's room had never been decorated, we'd just put up some decals and shelves, and focused on the rest of the house. In fact, she's never had ... read more

Days out in Devon: Becky Falls

This time last week I was limping towards the end of a very bad day on the parenting front-line. Effie had emptied an entire tub of glitter all over the living room floor, then trod it through the entire house. She'd done a wee on the sofa, smeared vaseline up the walls and had multiple threenager tantrums. We didn't get along very well that day. So, on Thursday, I decided we needed to draw a line under the preceding day and go on a bit of a trip. It was an exercise in Love Bombing, if you will. Anything to avoid another day that ended with us both in tears, anyway. And that's why, at ... read more

No junk playdates and guilt-free toddler treats #NoJunkJourney

I love a playdate. It's the ultimate easy toddler-entertainment, don't you think? You get a chance to chat with your mates and your kids get a chance to play and have fun. Whether it's sharing the pain of soft-play in numbers, visiting a farm for a busy day out or just sitting on your own sofa at home - while toddlers run amok around you - there's something wonderfully comforting about just hanging out with other like-minded parents while the children cement friendships of their own. Ever since Effie was born we've done regular playdates with the group of mums  who I met through my ... read more

A weekend at the Headland Hotel in Newquay

As we drove up to the gates of The Headland Hotel and Spa in Newquay the sun was setting, blazing orange against a lilac sky, dipping into the sea surrounding the imposing building. "It's so grand!" exclaimed Freya, who was flapping with excitement at the thought of two whole nights in a "posh hotel". We arrived just after 6.30pm on Friday night, the day of Effie's birthday. She couldn't have had a warmer welcome. If you recognise the building it might be because this is where they filmed one of my favourite childhood films, The Witches, back in 1987. Fast-forward to today and the ... read more