Days out in Devon: Wildwood Escot

We've lived in South Devon for nearly four years now, but I still feel like a tourist here at this time of year. It's easy to forget how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world, but exploring new corners of the county that we haven't yet visited is a great way to remember why we bit the bullet and relocated here in the first place. There are still so many days out in Devon we haven't yet experienced and, up until last weekend, Wildwood Escot was one of the places on our "must visit" list. With over 200 acres of parkland, and views across the valley beyond, ... read more

When is the right time to talk to your kids about the news?

I've always taken an "honesty is the best policy" approach with my kids. Frog found out how babies were made and born when she was four, for example, when I was pregnant with her little sister. She asked, so I told her, in a way that her young mind could fathom (obviously leaving out some of the more grizzly details). And with big world issues, I try to keep her informed too. When I was going to Sierra Leone with World Vision I explained to my six year old how many children just like her had lost their families because of the Ebola crisis. She took it in her stride and, I think, having this ... read more

The mum evening routine and my secret to sleep

One of the things I miss most about my pre-parent days is the freedom from a rigid routine. Of course I went to work, often went to the same gym classes and had a basic weekly routine, but if I felt like shaking it up a bit then I could. Pub on a Wednesday evening? No problem. These days my mum evening routine is pretty much the same Sunday to Thursday, but without it I wouldn't get any work done and would exist on barely any sleep. It might be predictable and a tad monotonous at times, but these are the things that help me survive with two young children. ... read more

Days out in Devon: Bicton Park Botanical Gardens

Being a parent is full of dream vs reality moments, isn't it? The dream of a wonderful family meal together, for example, versus the reality of a toddler throwing food on the floor and climbing on the table. Our trip to Bicton Park Botanical Gardens on Saturday was one of those dream vs reality moments, where the dream actually happened (minus a rather chaotic picnic, which you can see evidence of if you watch the video I've popped at the bottom of this post). This is the first in a series of Days Out In Devon posts that I'm working on for Visit South Devon, so it was a relief the day itself ... read more

Some thoughts on “keeping it real” as a mum

One of the best things about being a mum in 2017 is the ability to be completely candid and share our experiences of motherhood. This is also one of the worst things. Never before has mum life been so under the microscope or so laid bare for all to see. Instagram, YouTube, blogs and Facebook mean many of us - bloggers or not - put little elements of our life out there all the time for everyone to see. Sharing all these details of our lives lays us all open to criticism. Whether you're a cupcake baking mum or a fish finger serving mum, you can't please everyone and there's a high chance ... read more

Take your toddler to work day: Celebrating 25 years of Organix

Last Monday I threw a few clothes in an overnight bag, bundled up my toddler and set off on the road along the coast. We were heading to the Organix headquarters in Bournemouth, to celebrate 25 years of the brand in a mini birthday party. After a trip to the beach on Monday evening we spent the rest of the night at The Park Central hotel, right across the road from the seaside. We had a calm (HA!) meal in the restaurant followed by a three hour bedtime due to an overexcited toddler. The following morning we woke up vaguely refreshed (a night in a hotel with a toddler is rarely relaxing ... read more

Mum life: being everything

I had a moment of realisation this afternoon, as I was trapped under a sleeping toddler who had one of my nipples clamped firmly in her mouth. My lightbulb moment hit me with such clarity it surprised me. The thing? That being a mum is a basically impossible task. Mum life is littered with moments of failure right from the very beginning. From the 3am baby screaming sessions when you can't work out what's wrong to the forgotten homework or missed school permission slip in later years, we've all experienced that moment of uh-oh dread and then all-consuming parental guilt. But the other thing ... read more

A trip to Badminton with Joules (and a bit of celeb spotting)

True fact: when I was about 14, I used to earn free horseriding lessons by mucking out stables and walking round and round a paddock leading naughty ponies with young children on top. "My" horse was called Queenie and I loved her strongly. In my head, I was an Olympic athlete, jumping over huge jumps and cantering with finesse. The reality was probably (definitely) a lot more awkward than that but, the truth remains, I bloody loved horses. So when the lovely clothing brand Joules invited me along to Badminton for a day watching fancy horses doing fancy things I jumped at the chance to relive ... read more

What happened when we went to Paris (without the kids)

Ah Paris, the city of love. Unless you go there with a slightly grumpy northern husband who hates being made to stop every two minutes to pose for a photo. Grumpy husband aside, we had a fantastic weekend in Paris last weekend and I couldn't let it go by without a post here all about the trip. I had to have some excuse to share the photos, didn't I? We stayed with the NLM's cousin who lives in a Parisian suburb called Saint Germain-en-Laye, to the north west of the city. It's a beautiful place in its own right, with shuttered houses dripping in blooms, a smart chateau and many ... read more

How to do bedtime with a toddler

We recently had the extreme joy of turning Baby Girl's cot into a "big girl's bed". This was something we were completely unprepared for and hoping to put off as long as possible, as our second born is, shall we just say "challengingly adventurous". But one evening, half an hour after putting our beloved no-longer-baby to bed, she appeared back downstairs with a proud grin on her face, declaring "Doddle doodle doo! Wakey wakey! I get up! I climb out my cot all myself!". And so, the cage had to go. We knew that taking our two year old out of her caged bed cot would spell the end of peaceful ... read more