It’s cool to be normal

The pressure is huge sometimes, huh? Aside from being perfectly patient parents, offering our kids multiple opportunities, always being there, happy and smiling, cherishing every moment, we have to be cool mums, fit mums, in shape, with stylish outfits and trendy baby bags. Instagram, magazines, YouTube... social media and mainstream media have merged to create an idealised image of mum that most of us (at least, most of the parents I know) simply can't live up to. But you know what? It's not normal. Here's what most normal mums in my life look like: slightly frazzled, doing the best they ... read more

My school run morning skincare routine

It's taken me two and a half years but, finally, I have my school run morning skincare routine DOWN. I don't have time to faff about with layers of makeup and complicated cleanse rituals, but my skin is tired (thanks non-sleeping children!), I have under-eye bags and if I left the house with nothing but a quick splash of water on my face I'd risk scaring all the kids at school. There's been a lot of trial and error in my morning skincare routine. I've dabbled with various products and attempted multiple variations of easy make-up but, eventually, I've found a combination that works for ... read more

The perfect spring jacket

There are a few times in my life I've fallen head over heels with an item of clothing. My first pair of Adidas Gazelles, for example, or a particularly vibrant turquoise coat I got for Christmas circa 2004. Over the years, clothes have come and clothes have gone but there will always be those particularly loved pieces that remain etched in my memory, as embedded to a time and place in my life as a nostalgic song or familiar smell. My new spring jacket is one of those pieces. The Coastline waterproof jacket by Joules has become a school run staple, weekend staple and everything in between. ... read more

A family weekend in Dorset with Travelodge

There's something deliciously nostalgic about Dorset, perfectly fitting as the setting of arguably the most nostalgic novels in UK history - the Enid Blyton Famous Five series. Last weekend we visited Corfe Castle and Swanage, original Blyton stamping ground and inspiration behind her own Kirrin Castle which features in the Famous Five books. Corfe Castle isn't just a set of mystical ruins on top of a steep hill. It's also a very pretty little village, complete with old school sweet shop, picturesque pubs and stunning views across Purbeck. From here, you can get the steam train down to the ... read more

A mum break with a difference

I'm a firm fan of the mum break. I don't think it makes you any less of a mum to admit you sometimes need time out, and I don't think it means you love your kids any less if you crave occasional periods of respite from the mayhem of raising small people. Obviously, for many of us, a regular mum break isn't always possible. Real life doesn't always throw up opportunities for time away without the kids (unless you're an A-list celeb with an entourage of nannies in your household). That's why last week was so special. I went on a trip to Cornwall organised by clothing brand Joules, invited ... read more

The reality of cooking with kids

Love or hate cooking with kids, the reality is it'll be a situation you'll encounter sooner or later as a parent. Children love to cook, fact. Or, rather, children love to "help" to cook (by which I mean, in my case, making a mess and walking away before it comes to washing up time). I'm going to lay my cards on the table here and say that, unsurprisingly, I'm not a huge fan of cooking with kids. I do it regularly, because they love it, but as soon as they ask to "help" I have an inner sigh of desperation because I know what lies ahead. Namely, utter chaos, much hilarity from their point of ... read more

Forgotten photos and a reminder of what’s important

It's raining in Devon today. Proper streaming water that soaks into your bones and leaves you feeling like a soggy rag. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed by mum life recently and the hectic nature of raising a feisty toddler, and the weather seemed like a perfect metaphor for my current mood - dark and dreary, cold and flat. But then, when I got home from a very wet run after the school and pre-school drop-off, I discovered these photos on my laptop. Isn't it funny how a single photograph can change your mood? I took these on a trip to the beach when we visited my parents the weekend ... read more

Converting carnivore kids with Goodlife

My kids go mad for meat. We're a family of carnivores and where there's not meat then there's definitely fish. One time I suggested a vegetarian lasagne for tea and they just laughed in my face. So when Goodlife asked if I'd like to try their new range of frozen vegetable based foods I wasn't sure it would work. For one thing, there's my toddler's current "I NO LIKE IT! IT 'GUSTING!" fussy food phase. And for another, my six year old is dedicated to chicken. Still, I thought I'd give it a go. What did I have to lose, apart from my sanity and potentially any moment of calm during a mealtime, ... read more

Mother’s Day then and now (and a new outfit)

Mother's Day is one of those situations as a mum that I like to revel in. I'm all for appreciating motherhood all year round, but there's nothing quite like a day of dedication to really make you feel special. I know, as mums, we're meant to delight in the handmade presents the most - the pasta necklaces and the lollipop stick crafts - but, if I'm honest, I also take huge pleasure in a bouquet of flowers or a pretty little candle the girls and the NLM might have chosen for me together. This year I also have a new outfit for Mother's Day, courtesy of Matalan. It consists of pink chinos, a ... read more

Mum life is boring sometimes… isn’t it?

The thing about having small children is that it's a constant reminder of how quickly time passes. The oft repeated mantra "the days are long but the years are short" is so true. Still, I feel like I need to get this off my chest because I'm sure I can't be the only one to ever think this: mum life is so boring sometimes. Isn't it? Before you shoot me down for not appreciating my kids, let me tell you I love my kids just as hard as any other parent I know. I'd walk over hot coals for them, gladly throw myself in front of a train etc etc. BUT. But. The daily minutiae of life with two little ... read more