Monday 28 December 2015

Week 220- Quality Streets, glacier cherries and doing the online shop...

My children have turned into feral chocolate scavengers, topping up every meal with chocolate coins they've found under the tree or Quality Streets that have been left lying around.

I have spent the last four days squeezing my 20-month-old son's cheeks every five minutes to check he's not chewing on a Lego brick, only for a long, gooey, string of chocolatey spit to spill from his mouth.

It turns out children who do not eat sweets regularly will virtually inhale anything sugary, given the opportunity.

Coffee creams.

The purple Quality Street with a nut in the middle.

The gold toffee penny that pulls out fillings and takes the best part of a week to finish.

Half chewed jelly tots that have been left under the kitchen table for an undisclosed number of days.

Glacier cherries from the top of an, as yet, uneaten Christmas cake.

Icing off the same cake.

A selection of pudding spoons covered in custard that have been used by a variety of people and left on the worktop waiting to be washed up.

The list is exhausting. 

We're all starting to have a bit of a beige pallor.

So, next year it's going to be different.

I'm going to learn how to cook superfoods.

I'm going to drink eight glasses of water instead of wine a day.

And it all starts here, with such a healthy online shop that Tesco is going to think my account has been hacked.

But first I'm going to help the kids eat all the chocolates off the tree.

Sunday 13 December 2015

Week 218, playing games, being an 87-year-old, and smelling like farts...

Games my daughter has suggested we play this week...

I am a dog and walk behind her, only to be occasionally patted on the head very hard for being a ‘bad dog.’

I run a shop that sells carrots that cost £54 each.

I am a hairdresser who is only allowed to speak to tell my daughter what a beautiful princess she is.

I am a maid who waits on said beautiful princess.

I am a waitress who feeds said princess.

I am a pilot who flies around said princess.

My son is a 7-year-old (actual age; 20 months), my daughter is his 67-year-old sister (actual age; 4 years), I am their 89-year-old mother (actual age; 37). Their father is dead.

I am an ugly witch who smells like old vegetables.

I’m all for imaginative play but, fucks sake, couldn’t I once, ONCE, be a shit-hot, intensely-cool super hero who doesn’t smell like someone’s just farted?


OK. Fine. Do your worst.

Sunday 6 December 2015

Week 217- sweating, cycling and forgetting your underwear...

So I've done it. 

I've joined a gym. 

It costs about 4p a month, no induction, open 24 hours a day (I will be using it for a approximately 0.5 of those hours a week) and you have to go through a kind of 'beam me up Scotty' style tube to get in.

So it's not the Hilton.

But it's a gym.

I joined on-line at 11.30pm after half a bottle of vin rouge.

I had had a dinner that was 90% Red Leicester, 10% spaghetti.

My slendertone had run out of batteries.

And I thought, instead of going to the garage at the top of the road to buy some more triple A's, I was going to take decisive action.

To sweat. 

To get fit.

To do some actual exercise that involves more than pushing a supermarket trolley containing a weekly shop and two children around.

And more to the point, I'm going to attempt to fit into the 96% of clothes that have been left untouched for the last three years, in favour of a pair of stretching H and M jeans and a rotation of bobbly T shirts.

I've got a proper job.

I'm kicking on 40.

I've got to stop dressing like a drama student who's blown her grant on a trip to India and budgeted the remaining £22 for a yearly clothes allowance. 

The morning after joining the gym I checked the small print and I definitely couldn't get my money back.

So, wearing, what the untrained eye might assume was a pair of maternity leggings and a T shirt I wear in bed, I shuffled down to said gym, with my work clothes stuffed in a carrier bag, as I rightly assumed that if I didn't go RIGHT THEN, I'd ignore the fact I'd joined at all.

I locked up my belongings and headed to the treadmill that was facing a full length mirror.

Gym fact one.

I'm an ugly runner. 

I knew I was an ugly cryer. 


Even Kate Winslet looks questionable when she's having a beal in Titanic.

But facing my bright red sweating face for 11 minutes as I wheezed through a kilometre does not an oil painting maketh. 

Gym fact two. 

You do actually need an induction.

After trying to unsuccessfully get five exercise bikes to work, I started to wonder if that's why it was so cheap, cos everything's bust.

Until the cleaner told me I had to move the pedals to get them started.

A laminated sheet telling you to do that wouldn't be out of the question.

So five minutes and 43 calories later I'm feeling like I've nailed my first gym session.

My head's a bit spinny in an early 90s recreational drugs kind of way.

And I'm looking forward to a shower without anyone shouting 'MUUMMMIIIEEEEEEE!' at the top of their voice when...

Gym fact three

You should pack your gym bag the night before. Or if you're going to do it in the morning, turn a light on so you can see what you're doing. 

I have a dress.


A makeup bag.

A My Little Pony.

A size 5 nappy.

And that's it.

No underwear.

So. A quick trip to a Peacocks for a cheap ill-fitting leopard print bra, and I'm ready to start the day.

First gym session.


At this rate I am so going to be running a marathon by the new year.


Sunday 22 November 2015

Week 215- bad haircuts and sandals with socks...

There are fewer things more annoying in the world than your child kicking off one of their perfectly good shoes whilst in the pram and then only noticing when you get home.

Pre-children, I'd walk past singular children's shoes sitting on a wall and think, seriously, how shit a parent are you if your child is walking around in only one shoe?

But now I totally get it.

And that parent is probably sitting at home, face in hands, quietly cursing and weeping into their bank statements. 

Or, like me, loudly exclaiming,  'why lose it three days before payday?!'

So now my son has a choice of a pair of hand-me-downs that are three sizes too big or sandals and socks for the next few days. Perfect imminent snow footwear.

With that and the 'About A Boy' haircut I've given him, we're well on our way to winning the Worst Dressed Child 2015 award.

I just won't take any pictures of him for the next few weeks.

Or if I do, photoshop a decent haircut and a pair of Start-rites on him.

Job done.  

Sunday 15 November 2015

Week 214- is James Bond a sex pest?

Is it just me, or does anyone else think James Bond is an employment tribunal waiting to happen?

I’ve no idea what the actual job description for a 00 spy would be, but surely getting off with anyone with a pulse is not on the essentials list.

Seriously, how are they still making these films?

I really wanted to love it, I really did.

Daniel Craig is super hot and I’d gone to the cinema that sells booze so this was a double win; I just wanted to get a bit pissed in the dark and enjoy a childfree night.

But from the moment it started, I just felt massively creeped out by Bond.

He’s all, ‘don’t shit it, I’ll save you, but while I’m here I’m going to whip your dress off and shag you. Don’t worry though, it’s OK, I’ve been doing this since the 70s.’

It’s just not on.

What happens if you don’t want to pump him? Does he leave you strapped to an office chair with a bomb gaffer-taped to you while he storms off in a huff with a semi-on?

He just made me feel mega uncomfortable from the get go.

It’s not cos I’m a prude, don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of on-screen sex as much as the next person. 

I’ve watched Eyes Wide Shut three times for fucks sake.

But let’s get a bit of perspective here; it is 2015 after all.

James Bond is a spy.

A fascinating job, granted, but his responsibility is national security. He enjoys international travel, a limitless expenses budget and gets to drive eye-wateringly fast cars.

All in all he’s got a pretty sweet number.

But instead of just cracking on with the job in hand, of just being the best spy he can possibly be, he massively abuses his position.

He preys on vulnerable women who have, for example, recently been widowed, and whilst the right hand is shooting hit men who are hiding behind your curtains, the left hand is expertly unzipping your dress and pinning you against the wall.

Good for you James. Good for you and your over-active libido.

But not at work. Not when the taxpayers are bank-rolling you.

Pump on your own time Bond.

But whilst you're clocked on, just do your actual job. 

You don't see Jeremy Corbyn nipping off to the loos for a quick hand job between the hours of 9am- 5pm, do you?

Be a professional James, otherwise you're just a really well paid sex pest. 

Sunday 8 November 2015

Week 213- talking, shouting and being called a dick...

My son has started to talk.

Well, when I say talk, I mean making sounds that kind of resemble real words if you were listening to them with ear plugs on underwater.

Like 'oosh' for shoes.

Or 'duddle' for cuddle.

That said, there are words that are very clearly identifiable.

'Mummy.' Which is a one-size-fits-all warrior-like cry, that starts at about 5am hollered from his cot and finishes with a shrill wail between sobs when he's overtired about 6.30pm. 

Another word he says with remarkable clarity is 'dick.'


Normally after shouting 'mummy.'


'Yes sweetheart?'

'Dick, dick, dick, dick.'

Now, I know he's not actually calling me a dick. 

But I'd be happier if he knocked that word on the head, whatever it means.

Mind you, he did call Ben a 'douche' the other day.

 So maybe he's just a massively precocious, hugely sweary 19-month-old.  

How the fuck did that happen? 

Sunday 1 November 2015

Week 212- fancy dress, Billie Jean and biro moustaches...

When I was at university I would always dress up as either a fairy or fella with a 'tash at fancy dress parties. 

I looked pretty fucking brilliant as both to be fair, although was less likely to get off with anyone when I'd biroed on a Craig David-esque tash and beard combo. (Seriously, who biros on their own face?)

These days I get my fancy dress fixes through the children. 

This Halloween my son was a pumpkin, and my daughter a witch. Although I'd found her dress in a bag of hand-me-downs; it was meant for a 2-year-old and as she's a big 4 it was a snug fit. But a passable witch none-the-less. 

And as I made them pose for the five hundredth photo, I thought, how long is it ok to live vicariously through your children? 

Neither of them really wanted to wear the highly flammable, itchy outfits, but I'd bribed them both into it with fun size bags of Malteasers that were meant for the trick or treaters. 

See, it's too easy to inflict your own interests or dislikes on your kids.

I don't like tomatoes so I never give them to the children. Turns out they love them but I just assumed they'd think they were gross too.

My daughter asked me to turn off Michael Jackson's Billie Jean the other day as she didn't like it when we were having a disco in the front room. This is going to be a tough few years if it's not accompanied by an MJ soundtrack and I find it difficult to belief that any child of mine would not whole-heartedly embrace the Thriller album. But only time will tell. 

And the dressing up. I feel like they're kind of humouring me instead of totally getting into it. More seeing a potential opportunity to make a chocolate-based deal to keep wearing the dinosaur/ pumpkin/ doctor/ farmer costume. 

I often, entirely by accident, dress the children in very similar clothes to me. We'll all leave the house in navy and white striped tops, looking like we all work waiting tables in the same pizza restaurant.

So maybe I need to give them a bit of room to breathe. To make their own choices and if they're not necessarily mine then that's fine. 

They have their own take on the world; they may grow up to vote completely differently from me, to like different foods, fall in love with someone I think is a total dick or get a job working for a hedge fund. 

Whatever they choose all we can do is give them the confidence to know their own minds and the skills to back their choices up. 

And if they're not the choices we'd make then we're just going to have to suck it up.

But for the short term I will continue to dress them up and take billions of pictures of them.

And I will always encourage them to love the music of Michael Jackson, because it's just wrong not to want to get up and dance whenever you hear Bad. 

Sunday 25 October 2015

Week 221- zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

We've 'gained' an hours sleep today?



What about it your children wake up at what-the-fucking-time-do-you-call-this-o'clock normally?

Then is it a lie in?



Wow, the changing of the clocks can really bring out the worst in a person. 

Sunday 18 October 2015

Week 210- glow sticks, whistles and clubbing in a community centre...

I've found the ultimate bridge between my pre and post children life.

It's called Clubbercise.

It's an exercise class disguised as a very early night out clubbing.

But instead of being in an actual club, it's in a community centre.

And instead of pulling your own moves, you are following a routine demonstrated by a buff, overly-tanned instructor wearing a luminous T-shirt with the slogan 'you sweat and I glow' on it, who screeches 'I LOVE THIS TUNE, I'M GETTING GOOSE BUMPS!' down his Madonna headset every five seconds. 

But other than that it's exactly* like clubbing.

And they play 90s dance music.

And you get free glow sticks.

AND you can buy a whistle for a quid.


On top of that (wait, there's more?) you don't feel like shit the next day, there's no impending sense of doom about who you might have tried to get off with or why you've got a foot print on the back of your t-shirt. 

But the best part is that, unlike clubbing when I used to roll in at the time I now get up with my children, Clubbercise finishes at 8pm so I could, if I wanted, be in bed by 8.20.

Now, try telling me that isn't the sensible future of going out? 

*It's not even a bit like clubbing, not even going to a really shit club. 

Sunday 11 October 2015

Week 209- White walls, marmitey hands and living in squalor...

Cleaning is like Groundhog Day in our house since my son's learnt to walk.

He basically follows me round the house emptying cupboards, upturning boxes of Lego or spitting out mouthfuls of grapes that he's been storing in his cheeks for anything up to a record two hours (including a nap.)

I reach the end of cleaning the house only to turn round and see a small trail-of-destruction grinning at me, and around we go again.

I want to be all, 'they're just children, let them have fun' about it.

But really I would like to put my children in a Pope-mobile-style container in the middle of the front room whilst I cleaned round them, then rush them out the house, one under each arm like a couple of rugby balls, before they had chance to touch anything. 

I Pinterest the fuck out of white, calm, Scandinavian-inspired houses, and wonder if one day I might be brave enough to paint anything white. 

We attempted it on one wall, which is now a collage of marmitey hand prints.

I imagine myself, all- glass of something that cost more than £4.99 from Aldi in one hand, and an award-winning book that doesn't involve a detective or have pictures in it in the other; sitting on a white sofa, illuminated by white walls that hang an eclectic mix of original prints. 

The rug wouldn't be hiding a selection of Lego pieces ready to tread on with bare feet.

And the remote control would be where I put it down, instead of hidden with a variety of other 'treasures' in the cupboard under the sink.

This is, I realise, just a dream, at least for the next few years anyway.

So until that time I shall just learn to embrace the squalor.

And carry a bottle of Detol spray around with me on a holster at all times. 

Sunday 4 October 2015

Week 208- shouting, running and Corrie on catch-up...

My 18-month-old son can say, ‘mummy.’

It’s definitely mummy.

Not mumma.

Or mmmmmm.

As of two days ago, it is mummy.

The first time he said it I squeezed him so hard that he hit me over the head with a piece of Duplo.

I just thought, ‘here we go. We can now start communicating.’

And we have.

As he has very quickly realised that when he shouts, ‘MUMMY!’ I will come running in a way I didn’t so much when it was just noise.

He will peg it into another room, both arms firmly raised above his head and bellow, ‘MUMMY!’, to which I drop whatever I’m doing and appear at the door to see he’s just trying his new found power out for size.

Fair play to him.

If I found a word that would make people do what I wanted 24/7 I’d probably be yelling it too.

This would all be fine, except my daughter has realised she’s got competition.

It used to be that she acted as my son’s mouthpiece. She would second guess what he wanted and be like, ‘he doesn’t like your cooking mummy, he just wants pasta and pesto’ or ‘he’s crying because he wants to watch Frozen,’ or ‘he wants you to give me some sweets mummy, that’s why he’s upset,’ etc etc.

But now I have two children shouting my name from the moment they wake up.

All I hear is ‘ MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY!’ on loop like some kind of bad trip.  

And they very rarely actually want anything.

Please let him learn some more words so that I can at least shout back, ‘WHAT IS IT THIS TIME? CAN’T YOU JUST DO IT YOURSELF SO THAT I CAN FINISH WATCHING CORRIE ON CATCH-UP?’

Then we’ll really be communicating like a proper family.