Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

December 19, 2009

Blogging 2010 - The Conspiracy Theory

Following recent excellent posts from A Modern Mother and Who's The Mummy about their predicitions for mummy blogging in 2010, I would like to offer an alternative voice on this matter. So I give you:

Blogging Predictions for 2010: The Conspiracy Theory

1. Single Parent Dad, The Dotterel and Dad Who Writes will form a Status Quo tribute band called 'Dad's Rock'. They will enter, and win, Britian's Got Talent and will go on to have a No 1 smash with their debut single: 'Blogging All Over The World'.

2. Sandy at Baby Baby will become an advisor to the newly elected PM David Cameron and will be a regular panelist on Question Time.

3. Insomniac Mummy will have a 72 hr blogathon and will set a Guinness World Record for the highest number of blog posts and tweets in a 72hr period. She will then, finally, get a good night's sleep.

4. David Cameron will be a keynote speaker at the Mummy Bloggers Conference, but will be highly insulted when someone throws a packet of Custard Creams at him.

5. A Modern Mother, Sticky Fingers, Jo Beaufoix, Maternal Tales and Rosie Scribble will form a rival group to 'Dad's Rock'. Their 5-piece 'Mum's Aloud' will have the year's most downloaded single with 'Mum's Just Wanna Have Fun'.

6. The names Tweet, Twitter, Technorati, Hashtag and Blogger will become popular baby names.

7. Potty Mummy will have to start doing a British Mummy Blogger of the day podcast to keep up with the numbers of new bloggers coming on the scene.

8. Josie at Sleep Is For The Weak will be selected as a judge for the Booker Prize due to the phenomenal success of her weekly writing workshops.

9. There will be several blogger weddings featured in Hello! Magazine.

10. We will see Violet Posy , Brits in Bosnia , and Who's The Mummy competing for glory in the final of a special bloggers edition of 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here'.

11. All members of British Mummy Bloggers will be offered free travel on new no frills airline 'FlyBMB'.

12. The concept of 'vlogging' will lead to a massive surge in sales of Touche Eclat.

And on that bombshell, I am heading for a much needed break so I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you in 2010!


Books Glorious Books

In my final festive guest post, I am very delighted to introduce the multi-talented and hugely successful author, Sarah Webb. Sarah tell us why she simply wants books this Christmas, and all year round!

All I want for Christmas is . . .
book tokens and books. I've worked in the book business all my life, as a children's buyer and marketing manager and now as a writer. I've worked for all the 'greats' in Ireland: Eason, Waterstone's, Hodges Figgis, DuBray Books and I've written three guides to children's books.

Unfortunately because of this people are afraid to give me books as presents. They think I have every book I could ever want. But the truth is I love books, books are my life and I'd like nothing better than to open chunky square packages on Christmas morning. Coffee table travel books with glossy pics of places I'd love to visit - currently Barcelona and Iceland; easy to read (I have 2 small children and a teenager and am wrecked by bedtime) yet engrossing and well written novels by authors I may not have come across; books on cd for the car; beautiful blank notebooks to scribble ideas in - I'm really not at all hard to buy for. And I adore book tokens - aren't they wonderful - giving you guilt free shopping trips to your favourite book shops. Bliss!
And children's books. I've never grown out of two things: Abba and children's books. The odd time people give me special editions of old children's books but it doesn't happen half often enough. So I end up buying them for myself! A first edition of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (my fave book of all time) is top of my wish list.

If you have book lovers in your life, do give them books or book tokens. Like me they will thank you for it. And if you have little 'uns at home here are some of my favourites from 2009 for the younger ages:

Yummy by Lucy Cousins - a stunning hardback collection of fairy tales for young readers of 3+. Vibrant, glowing illustrations. One of the best books of the year.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury - first published in 2008 but recently out in paperback, this is one of the most charming picture books I've come across in many years and bound to become a children's classic. Gentle text, beautiful watercolour illustrations of bouncing babies - a real winner for birth+.

Lauren Child's Who Wants to Be A Poodle sees her back on form with a delightful, witty story and clever collage illustrations. Age 3/4+.

Early readers will love the new Mr Gum books by Andy Stanton or Tiger Lily books by Maeve Friel; and if your young reader of 8+ hasn't discovered the Wimpy Kid books yet, press them into his or her hands right now. They are hilarious! Greg is smart, witty but is always in trouble for his efforts. Funny, funny, funny!

So what do I want for Christmas - well, books and more young readers enjoying books of course!

Sarah Webb is the author of the Amy Green Teen Agony Queen series and has also written eight bestselling adult novels including Anything for Love. She is also the children's book reviewer for the Irish Independent and writes a popular book blog. She is on the Board of Children's Books Ireland, the national organisation for books and reading and is passionate about children's books and getting children reading. She lives in Dublin with her partner and three children.

For more information see or


December 17, 2009

Surprise me Santa - please!

Mums and Dads, Lords and Ladies*, I am delighted to introduce to you my guest blogger, Susanna Scott. Known to most as mummy blogging diva 'A Modern Mother', Susanna is the original and still the best; the Aretha Franklin/Whitney Houston of the blogosphere, if you will. I'm thrilled that she has popped round for a glass of mulled wine to tell us what it is that she wants for Christmas.
*they read blogs too you know

Susanna, take it away.......

All I want for Christmas is...
What do I want for Christmas? My husband asked me this over the weekend, and I have to admit that it annoyed me just a wee bit. Though asked in innocence and with good intentions, it highlighted the fact that I am responsible for the majority of Christmas cheer in our household. Just by asking the question, "What do you want for Christmas?" puts the onus back on me. It would be really nice if, in addition to choosing gifts for the girls, two sets of grandparents and endless cousins, I didn’t have to then make suggestions for myself.

Does that sound selfish?

I put a lot of effort into choosing Christmas gifts for people. I’ll listen carefully for that hint dropped into a conversation. A magazine left open on a page. The colour of a much needed kitchen accessory they don’t have. I rarely ask people what they want – the exception being my children. I hate asking, because I know it’s a hard question to answer.

Who knows – maybe I get my gifts all wrong. Maybe my mother-in-law hates the scented soaps from Crabtree and Evelyn and the cousins don’t like the GAP T-shirts.

One year, hubby was so busy travelling that I bought and wrapped my own gift! An Orla Kiely bag as it happens, with big red coffee cups on it. I still use it. But I could have bought it any day of the week.

So what did I tell him I wanted? A massage. From him.

Susanna has three children, all born within a three-year time span. She has been a working mum and a stay-at-home mum, with some variations in between. After a career in journalism and marketing, she took three years off to reflect on how the heck she went from charging around Europe to charging around the play park. She recently re-entered the workforce, and is pleased that she hasn’t lost as many brain cells as she feared. You can read more at her blog, A Modern Mother. Susanna is also the founder of the British Mummy Bloggers network and is planning the first Mummy Bloggers Conference in the UK in July 2010.


December 15, 2009

All I want for Christmas is...erm, nothing!

My second guest this week is the one, the only, Sir* Tim Atkinson. Legendary daddy blogger extraordinaire and better know to most as 'The Dotterel' or as the genius behind a daddy's-eye-view of life in 'Bringing Up Charlie'. A self-proclaimed Victor-Meldrew-in-waiting, this daddy can make the most annoying of experiences a pleasure to read about.

*he's not actually a Sir but hey, the Queen may be reading and if she's looking for ideas for the New Year's Honours List, no better man m' lady.

All I want for Christmas...

Right. Guest Post. Would you like to write a guest post, asked Hazel. Of course, no problem, I replied. I was flattered to be asked. This is my first-evah guest post! Yes! (No pressure, then.)

Ok, ok, so... subject? Christmas (obviously). It's a Christmas Post after all. All I want for Christmas is the title. Precisely. So. What do I want for Christmas? Peace on Earth? Me two front teeth? You see, I never, ever know. It's the same with birthdays. People ask me and I 'umm' and 'err' and end up saying 'nothing - anything... I'm not fussy' which is not exactly helpful.

'What do you want?' people ask. I don't know what I want but I know I want a present of some kind. I mean, I don't. I don't want anything, really. But if someone's going to give me something please let it not be money. Don't misunderstand me. Money's nice. Money's good. Some of life's best things aren't free, and there's never enough of it in the Dotterel household. No. But a present has to be... a present. Doesn't it?

Which brings me to the point, I suppose. I actually like buying other people presents. I enjoy thinking about the kinds of thing they'd like. I sometimes have a flash of inspiration in July, and if they're not around I'll buy someone their Christmas present there and then. I like to think I know the people that I buy for well enough to think of something. And if I don't, well... I'll try to get to know them just a little better. Or not buy them anything. (Joke.)

But it's no joke, really. All I want for Christmas isn't a gold watch or the latest blu-ray gadget or some 'character' Christmas socks or personal, embossed handkerchiefs. I don't want gift books, cufflinks, new ties (never wear them anymore) or a car de-icer, scraper and emergency flashlight gift-set. Nor did I ever want the comedy soap-on-a-rope, the fizzing bathcubes, Guinness bubblebath or eau de dog-basket.


I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want for Christmas. It is this. I want to get the present-choosing business aboslutely right. I want to have succeeded in surprising somebody by giving them something that they didn't know that they were getting, maybe didn't even know they wanted, but that hits the 'just what I always wanted' button the minute they open it.

Not much to ask for, is it? I've been trying it every year for (ahem) rather a long time. I've had my fair-share of near misses. And a few unmitigated disasters. (Actually, you can make a comedy virtue out of buying the most unsuitable gifts for someone, sometimes. But that's another story.)

So what do I want for Christmas this year, next year and for every year to come? The perfectly planned, precisely-chosen, exquisitely thought-out present. For someone else, not me. After all, it's better to give than to receive...

Tim Atkinson (aka The Dotterel) is a stay-at-home dad and author. His blog - Bringing up Charlie - charts his progress as his wife goes back to work, leaving him holding the baby (and changing the nappies). He is also the author of 'Writing Therapy' available on Amazon, or via his own website.


December 14, 2009

Be my guest

This week, I am most excited to welcome a number of very special guest bloggers to Hot Cross Mum. It's kind of like a TV 'Christmas Special', but without the added feeling of having eaten and drunk too much. Each guest has written a post on the theme 'All I want for Christmas...' and all have offered a uniquely brilliant take on this annual dilemma.

My first guest, Jenna McCarthy is an internationally published writer and author of 'The Parent Trip: From High Heels and Parties to Highchairs and Potties', and 'Cheers to the New Mom/Dad!' Jenna's work has appeared in more than fifty magazines, on dozens of web sites and in several anthologies including the popular Chicken Soup series.

So, without further ado I give you, Jenna McCarthy (thunderous applause, hysterical cheers...)

All I Want For Christmas...
When I was asked to write this guest blog post, the first thing that popped into my mind was a Land Rover. (Er, I mean world peace! World peace, of course, was my first thought; then Land Rover.) But since I know a new car’s not in the budget, the only other thing I could think of was for my wonderful family to allow me to pee—uninterrupted and with the bathroom door closed—for a whole week. Or even a day. Fine, a couple of lousy hours. Alas, if past experience is any indication, I’m pretty sure I won’t be unwrapping peace-on-the-potty this Christmas either. The good news is, struggling to come up with my own gimme-list prompted a delightful discovery: I really don’t need a single bloody thing.

And yet, dozens of my nearest and dearest are quite possibly right this very minute forking over their credit cards for some sweater/stationary/Snuggie (please God, not another wearable blanket! That thing was supposed to be a joke, wasn’t it?)… for me. Because it’s the holiday season, damn it, and people exchange gifts. After all, nothing else says “you’re special to me” quite like a 40-pound fruitcake, right?

Well, not me. Not this year. I’m not trying to be heartless—just practical. In fact, I have decided I’m not even going to attempt to spit-shine the kids and force them to sit still long enough to get a decent photo for the holiday cards I’d spend hundreds of dollars on and which would wind up in landfills and fireplaces around the globe. No, this year, in lieu of cards and gifts, my inner circle will be receiving a nice “holiday letter” from me that will go a little (or a lot) like this:

Dear Family, Friends and Cherished Loved Ones,

I am writing today to apologize in advance for the fact that you will not be receiving a holiday gift from me this year. Please don’t take it personally; it’s not your fault, and I hope you know that you are extremely important to me. Unfortunately, I have exhausted all of my time and money on people I know and love far less than you.

First, there’s the time issue. You may not have realized this but I am extremely popular. I have eleven holiday parties to attend in the next two weeks alone, each of which necessitates a hostess gift and more often than not, a covered dish that serves fifty to one hundred people. (Isn’t the whole idea of a party to provide people with food? I can eat my own sausage balls at home without having to pay a babysitter or put on mascara. But I digress.) I will be enjoying these parties in between attending the kids’ respective school Holiday Extravaganzas, dirtying my windows with faux-snow (which I’m hoping will distract the children from the fact that they’re not getting a trampoline—again—this year), sweeping up a steady stream of broken ornaments, baking bottomless batches of reindeer cookies (slice-and-bake, but still), working overtime to compensate in advance for the three days I plan to take off work while the kids are out of school, running back to the drug store for yet another roll of Scotch tape and every single day cleaning up at least one pile of tinsel-filled cat puke.

So while I really care about you on a deep and profound level—and I certainly understand, theoretically at least, that my holiday energies should be directed toward my nearest and dearest—I just don’t have time to shop for a personalized token of my affection for you. (I know, you pick up gifts all year long and stash them away so you can avoid this mess. Naturally you wrapped and shipped the entire haul by Halloween, too. I want to be like you, really I do. But I’m not.)

Even if I did have a spare hour to hit Target or scour eBay, there’s the money part. I don’t have any. I’m not eating out of dumpsters or anything, but any disposable income I might have had has already been fully disposed of. I’ve written more checks this month than a politician does during an entire campaign and bought more useless trinkets than my grandma owned in her lifetime.

It may seem unfair, and it is: Unlike you, the recipients of these gifts do not love me unconditionally; in fact, I don’t even know some of their first names. Nevertheless, a combination of obligation and fear has rendered me penniless. There’s my kindly mail carrier (I get a lot of mail and the man has never once given me a dirty look, even as he limps up my front path buried behind a stack of Pottery Barn catalogs), the trash and recycling collectors (who if recognized promptly and sufficiently tend to overlook the overflowing post-holiday bins and cheerfully whisk the excess away), my hairdresser (the woman is booked six months in advance but somehow manages to squeeze me in when I have a root emergency; can you blame me if I’m not willing to jeopardize this relationship?), our arsenal of babysitters (they put up with our kids and we are pretty sure they don’t steal our stuff), the FedEx and UPS guys (both of whom have great legs, wear shorts all year long and bring treats for the dog), the gal who scrubs my toilet once a month (she scrubs my toilet!), the person of unknown age, sex and gender who faithfully launches our newspaper almost all the way to the front door in the darkest pre-dawn hours (I’ve grown fond of this luxury), my pedicurist (she bows before me, kneads my soles and wields extremely sharp tools; that one’s a no-brainer ), the kids’ teachers (because if they don’t deserve a little holiday cheer, I don’t know who does) and of course the gardener (who actually saves me from having to tip a manicurist as well as a pedicurist, so in a way he’s a wash). Thankfully, we walk the kids to school, or I understand the bus driver would be expecting a handout as well.

I do hope you understand, and if you’ve already bought a gift for me, feel free to return it, re-gift it, keep it for yourself or hang onto it until my birthday. Maybe your hairdresser might like it? Just a thought.


p.s. You might be happy to note that I no longer have time to work out, so there will be no personal trainer walking around with the iPod you were hoping to get from me.

Jenna currently is hard at work on her next project, a practical guide to living with and continuing to love the TV-addicted, listening-impaired, not-quite-handy man that you married. In her spare time, she wonders what she used to do with all of her spare time. Visit her online at

Pop in again tomorrow to see what my next guest, Tim Atkinson (aka 'The Dotterel') has to say on the matter.


December 9, 2009

The Twelve Days of (a parent's) Christmas

(you know the tune!)

On the first day of Christmas,
my children gave to me
A night of unbroken sleep.

On the second day of Christmas,
my children gave to me
Two dirty gloves,
And a night of unbroken sleep.

On the third day of Christmas,
my children gave to me
Three chewed up pens,
Two dirty gloves,
And a night of unbroken sleep.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
my children gave to me
Four teddy bears,
Three chewed up pens,
Two dirty gloves,
And a night of unbroken sleep.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
my children gave to me
Five broken things.
Four teddy bears,
Three chewed up pens,
Two dirty gloves,
And a night of unbroken sleep.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
my children gave to me
Six hours playing,
Five broken things.
Four teddy bears,
Three chewed up pens,
Two dirty gloves,
And a night of unbroken sleep.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
my children gave to me
Seven dirty nappies,
Six hours playing,
Five broken things.
Four teddy bears,
Three chewed up pens,
Two dirty gloves,
And a night of unbroken sleep.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
my children gave to me
Eight cups with milk in,
Seven dirty nappies,
Six hours playing,
Five broken things.
Four teddy bears,
Three chewed up pens,
Two dirty gloves,
And a night of unbroken sleep.

On the ninth day of Christmas,
my children gave to me
Nine bedtime stories,
Eight cups with milk in,
Seven dirty nappies,
Six hours playing,
Five broken things.
Four teddy bears,
Three chewed up pens,
Two dirty gloves,
And a night of unbroken sleep.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
my children gave to me
Ten floors for sweeping,
Nine bedtime stories,
Eight cups with milk in,
Seven dirty nappies,
Six hours playing,
Five broken things.
Four teddy bears,
Three chewed up pens,
Two dirty gloves,
And a night of unbroken sleep.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
my children gave to me
Eleven wipes for wiping,
Ten floors for sweeping,
Nine bedtime stories,
Eight cups with milk in,
Seven dirty nappies,
Six hours playing,
Five broken things.
Four teddy bears,
Three chewed up pens,
Two dirty gloves,
And a night of unbroken sleep.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my children gave to me
Twelve loads of washing,
Eleven wipes for wiping,
Ten floors for sweeping,
Nine bedtime stories,
Eight cups with milk in,
Seven dirty nappies,
Six hours playing,
Five broken things.
Four teddy bears,
Three chewed up pens,
Two dirty gloves,
And a night of unbroken sleep.

Merry Christmas!


December 8, 2009

Add some Christmas sparkle

A few weeks ago, I asked members of British Mummy Bloggers and Irish Mum Bloggers to share their family Christmas traditions. As usual, you came up trumps and shared such lovely traditions that I thought I should share them with you. I do some of these and I still put chocolate money and a satsuma in the bottom of the boys stockings as my parents did for me, but the mince pie and a glass of sherry for Santa is now a mince pie and a glass of whiskey (when in Ireland….!).

Christmas Traditions
  • Sprinkle reindeer food (that’s oats and glitter to you and me) on the driveway or garden.
  • Leave a special key out for Santa so he can get into the house (if you don’t have a chimney!).
  • Christmas Elves leave new PJs for the children on the doorstep on Christmas Eve.
  • Leave the tree undecorated for a while until the "Christmas Fairy" decides to decorate it. Each morning the children come downstairs with a sense of anticipation.
  • Watch a classic Christmas movie whilst stringing popcorn for the tree.
  • Make some edible Christmas decorations every year which the children can decorate, such as gingerbread stars.
  • Put spikes of cloves into oranges and leave them all over the house.
  • Leave a note for Santa on Christmas Eve which asks him a couple of questions. Make a potato printer in the shape of a reindeer hoof-print and using mud, stamp a print onto a reply note for the children to find on Christmas morning.
  • Leave some of Santa’s beard (cotton wool) on the edge of the glass of drink you have left out for him.
  • A French tradition is to leave slippers under the tree (rather than stockings) which are filled by Santa with chocolates and oranges.
  • Keep an eye on Santa's journey on the Norad Santa Tracker.
  • Walk past bedroom windows with sleigh bells.
  • Let the children open one present each from under the tree on Christmas Eve.
  • For a magical Christmas Eve movie, try ‘The Polar Express’ and for a magical Christmas Eve story, try ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’.
  • If you put stockings on the end of the beds, let the children open those presents upstairs, perhaps all piled into your bed. Then go downstairs to open their Santa presents.
  • To try to prevent Christmas morning "present fever" by letting each child take it in turns to open a present. The present opening takes longer, but everyone can watch the present being opened, and also gives you chance to keep a list of what everyone has been given, for thank you letters.
  • Have a present ‘intermission’. Refill your glass of bubbly (!) while the children have some space between presents to play with the toys already opened.
  • Leave some presents until after lunch, or for when other family members arrive.
Christmas with children is SO exciting! They will hopefully remember these magical moments - they certainly won’t remember how crunchy your roast potatoes were! So, I for one am going to step back from the organising and cooking this year and try to bring the magic of Christmas alive for the boys. One day they will discover the truth about Santa (I am actually in denial about this fact!). I, for one, want to make the most of these years of believing.

Merry Christmas!

Thank you to the following British Mummy Bloggers and Irish Mum Bloggers for sharing all their fab traditions with me: 20something mum, The Mad House, Violet Posy, Potty Mummy, Expat Mum, Cafe Bebe, Mum's Survival Guide, Perfectly Happy Mum, A Modern Mother, Fab Mums, The Rubbish Diet, Crystal Jigsaw, Muummmeeee, Jayne Howarth, Coding Mama, If I Could Escape, Fashionable Mama, Bernice Burnside.


December 3, 2009

The death of parenting-DIY?

When I was a little girl, everything seemed to be homemade – cakes, fancy dress costumes, dresses for my doll, dresses for me; all made by my mum, an aunt or a nana. All very clever ladies who could turn their hands to anything. Now it seems that nobody makes anything.

I am the only mother I know, among my mummy friends, who have ever made their child’s birthday cake. I seem to be such an exception to the norm that it is almost embarrassing to admit this!

I’m not looking for a Home Economics badge or other domestic accolade. Making birthday cakes was something I assumed I would do when I had my own children, because my mum always made my birthday cakes. I also feel that I owe it to my mum to keep this tradition going.

My friends partly admire my domestic abilities but I know they also think I am completely insane. Surely, they point out, it would be so much easier to pop out to M&S and pick up a tasty and brilliantly decorated Ben 10, Thomas, or whatever other themed cake was required at the time.

They are right of course. It would be easier. But where’s the sense of pride in picking a cake off the in-store bakery shelf, taking it out of the box and plonking a few candles on it? Surely baking your child’s birthday cake is a parent’s rite of passage – something to look forward to as much as putting their first Santa presents under the tree or watching their first nativity play.

I’m not sure if I should be hailed as a hero or a tragedy for finding a little time in my busy life to whisk together some eggs, butter, flour and sugar, and I’m sure the children couldn’t care less who made the cake, as long as it has plenty of candles and chocolate buttons on it. But I care, and I like the idea that they assume I made it.

And it’s not just cakes. Hallowe’en costumes also bother me. Buzz Lightyears, Power Rangers, Snow Whites - simply cut off the price tag, pop over child’s head and voila, instant fancy dress. Gone are the days of white sheets with holes cut out for eyes which is a shame. OK, they look pretty crap but I’d much have some sheet ghosts knocking on my door than a bunch of Disney Pixar characters. What’s spooky about a princess and a cowboy?

It really seems that my generation of parents have lost all interest in the art of parenting-DIY. Is this ‘pop out and buy one’ attitude just a symptom of the ridiculously busy lives most parents lead in the 21st century, or are we just getting lazy? Are we missing out on something by always taking the convenient, shop-bought option?

Christmas 2009 will be my thirty-eighth Christmas. I have just made my first Christmas cake (thought it was about time!). I used my mum’s own recipe, the boys helped and we all made a wish as we stirred with our wooden spoons - something I vividly remember doing with my mum.

Condemn me if you wish for sounding like I have come straight off the set off ‘The Good Life’, but I don’t think that what I am doing should be viewed as ‘showing off’, or ‘saintly’. It is simply something I want to do because I am a parent, and that I enjoy doing because I am a parent.

As a final note on this matter, I painted the front door yesterday morning. Chatting to a mum I know later that day, I happened to mention this. She looked at me like I was mentally unstable.

“What colour did you paint it?” she enquired.
“Surely it would have been easier to just buy a new green door?” she said.

Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case!

Image courtesy of Miss Anne Taintor


December 1, 2009

A mum's letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I have been quite a good mummy this year, so for Christmas I would like….

  • A new pair of hands – mine are looking very much like they belong to a 90-year old gardener.
  • Some anti-shouting pills or something to prevent me from slamming things in a mum-rage.
  • A new car would be lovely. Preferably one which doesn’t let in the rain and soak the boy’s car seats, or one which actually gets warm. Either would be nice. Actually, one like daddy’s car would be very nice.
  • Would it be possible to have some self-dying hair, self-manicuring nails and self-applying make-up as I never seem to have the time to do any of this myself.
  • Actually, talking of time, a couple of extra hours a day would be great. In fact, make that four extra hours, but you must insist that I am only allowed to do things for myself in those extra hours.
  • A self-cleaning floor would be great.
  • A sense of style would be lovely.
  • I may be pushing my luck here, but if you could see your way to bringing me my very own Nigella Lawson or Annabel Karmel to deal with all the children’s meals that would be nice. Failing that, if you could fill my freezer with a year’s supple of ready-to-serve, nutritious, organic meals that would be fine.
  • Oh, and some of those nice chocolates from the coffee shop in the village if you can squeeze them in.
Thanks very much. I left out a mince pie which I made with the children. See, I really am a good mum!

November 27, 2009

Jim: A Cautionary Tale

Q: What do you get if you cross a young boy, a lion, a classic story-teller and an award-winning illustrator?
A: A most excellent book.

We love a good read here at HCM Towers, so when I was asked by some nice people at Random House if I would like to review 'Jim' by Hilaire Belloc and Mini Grey, I stretched my hand up very, very high into the air and trilled, "Me, me, yes please".

The tale of Jim, the boy who ran away from his nurse and was eaten by a lion, was first written in 1907. Hilaire Belloc's classic cautionary tale has been updated in a special new edition, illustrated by award-winner Mini Grey*, whose completely brilliant pictures depict Jim's tale with amazing detail. The fold out map of the zoo is like a mini book of it's own, there's so much in it!

When the book arrived, I had a quick flick through and, although I thought it was brilliant and very funny, I wasn't sure whether a 'lion eating boy' story was suitable bed-time material for my four-year-old! Anyway, we read it after lunch one day and he absolutely loved it. The front cover of the book states 'Warning: Comes with a dangerous beast and a miserable end' - it does not lie!

The book is aimed at 7-9yr olds, but I have to say that my four-year-old thinks it is hilarious -and hasn't yet had any irrational reactions to lions after reading it several times! My two-year-old also loves the picture of 'chocolate, with pink inside' and the part where the pop-up lion jumps out and starts nibbling on Jim's ankles. Yes - it doesn't leave much to the imagination!

The interactive pull out maps and flaps all help to make this a really enjoyable read and a real treat of a book. My only slight question being whether 7-9yr olds would feel the flaps and pop-ups are a little baby-ish? Not sure on that one.

Anyway, 'Jim' gets a very big thumbs up from us. Keep an eye out for this book - it would make a lovely gift and a great addition to your bookshelves.

*(apparently so-called because she was born in a Mini - lucky for her she wasn't born in a Punto or a Passat then)

This post is a 'Hot Cross Mum Loves...' book review.


November 25, 2009

Tiny Details

Why is it that there always seems to be something else to do, or something you forgot to do, when you are already doing SO much?

For example, after getting myself and both boys washed and dressed on a morning, you’d think we’d be ready to pop on our coats and shoes and head off for the day. But, oh no. I must first attend to a hundred tiny details, absolute minutiae which, if forgotten or over-looked, will cause utter calamity. I will give you just a selection from this morning…..

1. Make 2 slices of toast (standing and holding the toasting handle down because it is broken and there isn’t time to fix it or buy another). Cut one slice into 4 triangles, leave the other as a whole piece.
2. Apply Burt’s Bees to two-year-old’s dry patch on forehead
3. Apply Vaseline to four-year-old’s sore patch on top lip
4. Blow four-year-old’s nose and put tissue in his pocket for pre-school
5. Find small green car which two-year-old is losing his mind over
6. Put cheque into crèche bag, otherwise my children will be evicted
7. Have a serious chat with two-year-old about how he must remember to be a good boy at crèche today and not bite anyone
8. Remind four-year-old not to pick his nose but to use tissue in pocket
9. Remind four-year-old not to use the hand-soap at pre-school as it makes his hands sore
10. Find red cup for two-year-old’s milk for drinking on the way to crèche
11. Put shopping bags into car because I’m going straight to the supermarket after crèche drop
12. Take buggy out of the boot to make room for the shopping
13. Allow two-year-old to climb into the driver’s seat
14. Fiddle with four-year-old’s seatbelt which is somehow all twisted, again
15. Fiddle with very temperamental lock on house door and swear
16. Start car engine and pretend the car will go without us to entice two-year-old into his own seat
17. Go back into house for four-year-old’s lunch box which I thought he’d taken out to the car
18. Grab another tissue and blow four-year-old’s nose again
19. Find Track 16 on the Abba CD before everyone has a complete melt-down
20. Get teddies out of crèche bag for two-year-old to hold, along with milk, while driving to crèche
21. Arrive at crèche – ensure four-year-old gets out of car first
22. Let two-year-old press the buzzer and then wait for him to say hello to the cuckoo clock and the bee mobile
23. Sanitise everyone’s hands with gel to prevent swine flu
24. Deposit two-year-old. Try and ignore his look of utter desperation and head upstairs with four-year-old.
25. Deposit four-year-old.
26. Dash back to car and speed off to supermarket. Screech to a halt. Turn back and take two-year-old’s teddies into him.
27. Speed off again, avoiding the strong urge to make a diversion into the lovely new coffee shop which has just opened opposite the creche.

Is it any wonder I look ever-so-slightly harrassed?!


November 24, 2009

Ten things

Thank you very much to World of a Mummy and Carrot In Mum’s Hair for bestowing me with the ‘Honest Scrap’ Award. I am slightly relieved because at first glance, I thought I had been handed an 'Honest Crap' award - which I may not have been so pleased about!

The rules of this award are to tell you 10 things about myself which you don’t already know and to pass it on to other bloggers you'd like to know more about. Hmmmm – what, oh what, to divulge?! W

1. I completed the London Marathon in 2001 (I will never do one again!)

2. As a result of my daily proximity to the kitchen, I am actually now half-mum, half-biscuit*

3. I can juggle (proper juggling, not just multi-tasking!)

4. I am 6ft 10" tall*

5. I have portion-control issues as I always, always cook way too much pasta and rice. I am an intelligent, well-educated woman, why can I not get this simple task right?

6. I am partial to a pork scratching when back in Yorkshire

7. I have kissed Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme anyone? No, I'm not particularly proud!)

8. I can't knit, darn or crochet

9. I would very much like a cleaner for christmas**

10. I have never been to Iceland (despite the fact that I am a mum!)

*this may not be true
** I don't think even Santa will be able to manage this one

Now, I call upon the following bloggers to please step forward to collect this award, which I dutifully pass on.

Mummy Tips
Older Mums Are Fun
Baking Mad Mama
Wives and Daughters
Bare Naked Mummy



November 22, 2009

Soccer Mom Me

For the past few weeks I have been taking my four-year-old to a soccer skills class at the local community centre.

Due to a combination of a badly timed promo flyer and my mistaken assumption that ‘all weather pitch’ didn’t include rain and a biting wind, we missed the first 2 weeks so it was Week 3 before he made it onto the pitch.

By now the other boys had a 2 week advantage; they knew each other, the activites and the ‘coach’. My little man, on the other hand, stood like a rabbit in the headlights, stranded in the middle of an astro-turf ocean. My noisy, enthusiastic, confident little boy had turned into a shrinking violet in front of my eyes.

In hindsight this was probably because to his young mind ‘football skills’ meant he was expecting to run about kicking a semi-deflated Mickey Mouse ball whilst dodging some sheets and towels hanging on a washing line, occasionally aiming the ball at a brick wall to score a goal and immediately be given a high-five and loads of praise and encouragement.

The activities the coach was playing with the boys bore little resemblance to the 'football' my little man knew. So there he stood. Dazed and confused.

I urged him on from the sidelines - trying not to sound like a pushy mother whilst trying to resist the urge to take us all for hot chocolate and brownies instead. So we struggled on for 15 minutes - him looking increasingly forlorn and me getting increasingly frustrated. Meanwhile, my two-year-old, who is a year too young to participate in the programme, had found a football and was very skillfully dribbling it around the pitch.

Finally, my young Beckham relaxed enough to kick the ball around a bit, just as the session ended. He was, heart-breakingly, the last to be given a vest to wear and the last to get a high-five off the coach.

We persevered and went again the following week. The same thing happened: four-year-old rabbit in headlights, two-year-old displaying ball control which Wayne Rooney would be proud of.

Week 4 pretty much the same and my increasingly desperate attempts at coaching, or rather, coaxing from the sidelines seemed to be getting us nowhere.

Undeterred, we went for the final week and hallelujah! Finally, he found his footballing mojo! He was the first into the hall, the first to grab a ball, the first to get a vest. He joined in all the games, laughed and was the first to get a high-five at the end.

The programme has been extended for another six weeks and I’m delighted. I don’t actually care whether he’s any good at the football or not. I’m just so proud of my little man for sticking with it and growing so much in confidence through this experience.

Me? I’ve learnt that being on the sidelines is a tough place to be sometimes for a mum. But I’m sure I’ll get better with practice!


November 19, 2009

A Letter From Santa

I am sure mine is not the only household at the moment to be occupied by little elves who are frantically deciding what to put on their lists to Santa. These will be sent up the chimney in due course (cough, stored in a secret box to look back on in years to come).

Sending a letter to Santa causes enough excitement so I cannot imagine the delight a letter from Santa would bring!

This year, the NSPCC have a wonderful fundraising initiative 'A Letter From Santa' which gives parents, grandparents and anyone else the chance to nominate someone special to receive a magical letter from Santa for a suggested donation of £5. The letter is personalised with the child’s name and age and the envelope shows that it’s been safely delivered through ‘express Rudolph Mail’.

Fundraiser Binita Patel said: "Letter from Santa is a brilliant way to put an extra twinkle into Christmas this year and make a child feel extra special. The appeal also helps us to raise money to support children who are perhaps not as fortunate."

Also on offer is a Baby’s First Christmas letter from Santa, which is the perfect keepsake for newborns celebrating their first festive season.

To order a letter from Santa for a child you know, visit or call 0845 839 9304. Alternatively look out for a Letter from Santa order postcard in your local Debenhams, SPAR, Thorntons or Bhs store.

This post was written in support of the NSPCC.


November 17, 2009

Dear Sam...

Happy 2nd birthday little man! I cannot believe that it is already two years since you arrived into our world - that tiny, perfect little bundle with red hair - RED! What's that all about?

You were the best baby on the ward. So quiet and peaceful. Just us two in our little make-shift world of two walls and two pale green curtains.

And to think that I was worried I wouldn't be able to love you as much as your big brother. You have made that incredibly easy with a smile that could melt ice, the twinkle in your eyes and your impish sense of humour.

You have given me plenty of scares over the last two years, with your 'thing' for pulling the blankets over your head since you were tiny and your love of climbing. You are fearless, reckless and confident beyond your tender years. You have loved your Ted Ted to absolute bits and can't get enough of mummy's cuddles. I hope you keep asking me for those cuddles for a very long time.

When I asked you how old you were today, you simply said 'cake'! You have always made me laugh.

You haven't had the best birthday as you are not feeling very well. In fact, for the first time in as long as I can remember, you fell asleep in my arms tonight. Which seems like a very fitting end to the day. You may be two, but you will always be my baby.

Happy birthday sweetie. May there always be icing on your cake, and plenty of it.

Sleep well. Hope you feel better in the morning.


November 14, 2009

The Wonderful Thing About Bloggers

I often get asked why I blog. The short answer? Because I love writing and I've grown to really enjoy the community.

The long answer? Because in February I lost my job and decided to stay at home to look after the children full time. I also took this opportunity to finally do something about the novel I have been promising to write for the last 15 years.

So, I attended an excellent writing workshop run by Inkwell Writers and came home buzzing with ideas and enthusiasm. Most importantly, I was advised to start a blog, and to start social networking on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to raise my profile as a writer. This was all completely new to me.

I also got some excellent advice from hugely successful author Sarah Webb, who encouraged me to start writing articles for local papers and magazines. Generally, just to keep writing while working away on the book.

Eight months later, my blog has reached No. 28 in the latest Tots 100 Parenting Index! I am so pleased (and genuinely surprised!) about this. Not because I’m a competitive freak who thrives on rankings and stats (I actually have no idea what my stats are!), but because I put a lot of time and care into the posts I write and it’s wonderful to be ‘appreciated’. It’s always nice to know you’ve made someone laugh, or connected on some level through a shared experience and I really enjoy the spontaneous interaction with other amazing writers in the community through blog comments and Twitter chatter.

In addition to the blog, I write a weekly column for a regional Irish paper and have had several articles published in national paper The Examiner and in parenting magazine Modern Mum. I also blog for Hello magazine and Eumom and write reviews for MummyMaps. I am a member of British Mummy Bloggers and Irish Mum Bloggers which are fantastic networks to be part of.

Again, through Inkwell Writers, I have recently been in touch with an agent who has given me some very encouraging feedback on my novel. I am now full steam ahead to get the manuscript finished before the end of the year so it will be ready to submit to publishers.

ALL of this has come through my re-discovered passion for writing and the confidence which my blogging experience has given me, and, with the exception of a few hours on a Tuesday and Wednesday morning (when I really should be cleaning the bathrooms!), this has all been done when the children are tucked up in bed, or while they are listening to bad rock music with their daddy on a Saturday morning!

So that, reader, is why I blog.

For more information on successful blogging, read this excellent post ‘The Secret Of My Blogging Success’ by Sandy Calico at Baby Baby.


November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Picture Perfect

Inspired by the meme started by the fab Tara at Sticky Fingers , and which the lovely Insomniac Mummy passed on, I give you my four-year-old's depection of me! I think it's reather lovely! The two-year-old was also invited to participate in this activity, but politely declined.

To keep this great meme going, I'd like to pass the task of getting your children to draw a picture of you, to the following excellent bloggers:-

Mummy Do That
Life Slightly Used
Tartan Mammy
Life and Times of a Househusband


November 4, 2009

I, Mumbot


For those of you not familiar with the term, a Mumbot is defined in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary* as follows:-

Mumbot (def)

An individual (usually of the female genus) who has become routinely predictable and dull in her approach to parenting.

A mumbot provides standard issue meals for the family in a strict daily rotation. She moves around in a hypnotic manner, apparently devoid of life to those who observe her.

She shouts commands and orders at those around her and is on constant high-alert for a total system overload which can lead to component parts ceasing to function properly. System overload can be triggered by the smallest thing going slightly wrong in her day.

Mumbots often seem to have no sense of humour and tolerance levels are also particularly low in this type of droid.

Unlike the newer model ‘Dadbot’, Mumbots do not have much fun with their children – being programmed specifically to focus on providing the more basic needs of food, comfort and hygiene.

Mumbots are capable of feeling mild human emotions of envy towards Dadbots when they see them playing a game of rough and tumble with a child, or having an extended bedtime chat with them about different types of snakes or patiently role-playing pirates to encourage them to eat their dinner. Mumbots are not capable of doing these things as most models do not have the requisite specifications of patience or energy for these activities.

Mumbots move around particularly quickly for the entire day, rushing from one place to another (often carrying a child or a pile of washing or lots of toys), and yet they never appear to actually get anything done.

They sigh a lot.

Unlike the Dadbots whose systems are programmed to completely switch off between the hours of 11pm and 7am, Mumbot systems are programmed to switch to stand-by mode at around 11pm each evening. They never power-down completely.

Following any form of system overload, Mumbots can be given cups of tea in bed on a weekend and should be sent off shopping on their own regularly in order to restore their systems to full working order.

If you encounter a Mumbot, you should speak calmly and pleasantly to her and mention that her hair looks nice. She will detect that you are not telling the truth, but will appreciate the gesture anyway.

*not really, but perhaps it should be in there

November 3, 2009

We now interrupt this blog with some urgent messages…

Well, well, well – October was some month wasn’t it? What with birthdays, carnivals and Hallowe’en all rolling into one, I feel as though I have just got off a gigantic pumpkin shaped birthday cake merry-go-round to discover that there is a world out there (a world in which, according to Argos, it is Christmas Day tomorrow)!

As a result of my manic month, my poor blog has been somewhat neglected - not to mention my Twitter account which is in dire need of a night out, some flowers or at the very least a bottle of wine.

I have also been particularly rubbish at reading and commenting on all those other fabulous blogs out there and have been given awards which I haven’t even acknowledged yet. So, I hang my head in shame, offer an olive branch and promise to address these oversights asap starting with…..

a very big thank you to Sandy at Baby Baby who tagged me a million years ago with the ‘Dream’ meme which was started by Zooarcheaologist from Being A Mummy. Sandy wrote a lovely dream of her own (check it out) and I certainly owe her a response before the week is out! Watch this space.

Thank you also to the lovely Clareybabbling for tagging me with the subtly-titled (!) ‘Your Blog is Bloody Brilliant’ award and to Ellen at World of a Mummy who tagged me an embarrassingly long time ago with the ‘I love your blog’ award. I’m passing both these awards onto the following brilliantly lovely blogs. Do with them what you will – they are yours to keep!

Metropolitan Mum
Muddling Along Mummy
Muddy no Sugar
Babies Who Brunch
Being a Mummy
Thanks also to the fabulous – if very tired - Insomniac Mummy who has tagged me with the Picture Perfect meme. I have the crayons on stand-by and as soon as the kids stop sneezing everywhere, I will bribe them accordingly to produce a lovely picture of me!

Finally, thank you very, very, very much to the incredibly lovely people who selected my little slice of motherly ramblings for listing in the Independent Top 50 parenting websites and blogs. To say I was shocked and stunned to find myself appearing on this list is an understatement. I am, nonetheless, massively delighted to be in there!

And finally, I owe some people some pictures. So, for the excellent Sally at Who’s The Mummy – here are the shoes I treated myself to for getting onto the Tots 100 Index in September. I have my eye on others if I keep climbing!

Anyone who read my Ode To The Kitchen Table post should note that the actual kitchen table referred to is pictured below (sadly not nearly as nice, or as tidy, as the original one pictured – but I still love it). And finally, here is the pirate’s Treasure Chest Cake which I made for my little boy’s 4th birthday last week. If you are in any way interested in the finer details of this, please leave a comment and I’ll contact you directly!
Oh I feel SO good to have cleared that all up. Thank you for bearing with me. Right, transmission interlude over - normal blogging service will resume asap.


October 29, 2009

Happy (belated) Birthday Little Man

Yesterday marked a momentous occasion at HCM Towers as our little man turned four. In anticipation of this event I was full of great intentions to write a deeply profound and heart-felt post about my gorgeous boy and everything he means to me, but I just didn't get around to it.

My excuse being that him turning four has been combined with hosting the BMB Carnival (great fun by the way), hosting family members (who will be reading this so, for the record, it was an absolute pleasure, as always, to have you here!), planning two birthday parties (clearly one is not enough when you are FOUR!) and making a pirate's treasure chest cake.

Although I am pleased to know that, on this particular occasion, I got my priorities absolutely right, I would still like to - albeit slightly belatedly - mark the occasion via the blogosphere. So, I will leave you with these thoughts:-

To Max
My fabulous little boy,
You fill my heart with joy.
You make me laugh, you make me cry,
You always ask me why? Why? WHY?

You started out so small,
How did you get so tall?
You can tumble, dance, sing - and shout,
You're an absolute genius without a doubt.

You make me feel so proud,
I want to shout out very loud -
'Hip Hip Hooray for my boy who is four'
Now - will you PLEASE pick those toys up off your bedroom floor!

Happy Birthday monkey - may your scooter wheels always run smoothly and your anti-gravity belt keep you flying high!


October 23, 2009

British Mummy Bloggers Hallowe'en Carnival

“Heeeeeere’s Mummy!”

Yes, it’s time for the inaugural ‘Hot Cross Mum Hallowe’en Spook-Fest BMB Carnival’ (or HCMHSFBMBC for short!).

In celebration of All Hallows Eve, I dared you to submit your most grisly and gruesome tales of parenting. Seems there was no problem on that front then as you have literally splattered me with tales of projectile vomit, poo in unwelcome places, strangely-opinioned men, imaginary beings, tricks, treats and all manner of other horrors. It has been great fun (if also slightly terrifying!) pulling it all together so thanks for all your entries.

So, ladies and gents, grab a cushion, hide behind the sofa, lock all the doors and windows, DO NOT answer the phone, put all sharp implements somewhere safe and whatever you do, DON’T have a shower!

First up with a fright, Tara from 'Sticky Fingers' spooks the socks of us with ‘The Man’. He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere, he’s behind you…. !

Next, I dare you to mess with ‘The Management’ in Potty Mummy’s ‘House Rules’ – a truly menacing force to reckon with.

Susanna from 'A Modern Mother' shares a harrowing tale about playdates going badly wrong in 'Playdate Nightmares'. Shudder.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, Emily from ‘Brits in Bosnia’ shares a tale of truly pooey horror in
‘Things I have said to my husband’

Of course, Hallowe'en wouldn't be complete without some projectile vomiting, and we have plenty in these grisly (yet hilarious!) tales of parenting nightmares provided by Victoria at ‘It’s a Small World after All’ in
‘Do You Have Highchairs’ and Lorraine at ‘The Survival Guide for Rookie Mums’ in ‘A chip off the old barf’.

Terrified of the mornings with a small army to get out of the house? So is Maria from ‘The Hair Dog Chronicles’ who shares the grim reality of the start of every parent's day in ‘The Morning Routine’

If you can stand to read on, Karen at ‘The Real Mamma Diaries’ has a gruesome tale of a house full of seven six-year-old boys (YIKES!) in ‘Let’s Get This (Kids) Party Started’ while Liz at ‘Living With Kids’ has a cunning plan for dealing with ungrateful Trick or Treaters in ‘Fright Night’

Jennifer from ‘Alpha Mummy’ shares her horror and general outrage at fashion’s own Edward Scissorhands, Karl Lagerfeld in ‘Only ‘fat-mummies’ dislike size-zero models’ while 'Rosie Scribble' tells us of her problems with 'Skinny Mummies'

Next up, a little light relief from Emily at 'Maternal Tales' who admits to having (very) temporary evil thoughts in 'She's Not My Daughter' while Sandy from 'Baby Baby' shares the grim reality of life as a new mum (with pictures!) in 'An Unholy Trinity' and 'Rebel Mother' tells us of the horrors some parents can put their children through in 'A Little Faith' .

Had enough yet, or do you want some more.....?

A big welcome to British Mummy Bloggers, carnivals and blogging to new mum Kim from 'Weaning Tales' who shares every parents nightmare and frustration in 'A Mum's Meltdown'

On a more serious note, Maria from ‘Fab Mums’ shares her completely terrifying experience of losing sight of her little boy in
‘Five minutes of panic and all because of ice cream’ and Tasha (many congratulations on the birth of little Eleanor) from 'WAHM-BAM' tells us about her very personal nightmare in 'How I almost gave up Breast-feeding'. A great post for anyone else struggling with this at the moment.

Amanda from ‘Angels and Urchins’ shares a tale of law breaking worthy of mischief night in
‘Desperate PTA Rep Breaks the law’ and Ella from 'Most Least' shares her frightening reality of boys and school in 'Learning, rather than being taught'

After all that, Carol at ‘New Mummy’ offers some much needed comfort for bedtime in
‘Story Time’ and Simone at 'From Rat Racer to Positive Parent' also gives us some happy thoughts in 'A Fun Way to Learn the 3 Rs' and last, but by no means least, a big BMB welcome back to Anna, from ‘Part Mummy Part Me’ who explains why she’s been away in ‘The Secret to Big Boobs, True Love and Losing Weight’

Right, you can come out now. Phew! Some scary stuff in there! Thank you all again for your fabulous entries and apologies for anyone I didn't get to, or missed out.

Before you head off to put your cauldrons on, don’t forget to drop into Violet Posy’s ‘Terror’ific (sorry, couldn't resist!) Hallowe’en Blog Party and remember, 'Don't Have Nightmares'!
For more information on 'The Best of the British Mummy Bloggers Carnival', or to host one yourself, please click here.

Happy Hallowe'en.

October 22, 2009

Ode to the kitchen table

Kitchen table, kitchen table,
How do you remain so stable?
Through it all, the spills, the mess,
You are my rock, I must confess.

There to greet me as a new day dawns
I sit by your side and tiredly yawn.
You’ve seen it all – the laughs the tears
My constant companion these past five years.

I grip you when I’m on the verge,
When the tears and frustration start to surge.
You help me count from one to ten
Until I finally feel calm again.

Sometimes you share a party with glamour and fuss
But often it is just the two of us,
As I sweep around your splattered legs
Gathering peas and crusts of bread.

I tidy endless meals away
And crafty things from an hour of play.
But sometimes I make you look really fine
With candles and napkins and bottles of wine.

Kitchen table you’ve seen it all,
You’ve watched me rise, you’ve watched me fall.
You’re just about perfect (apart from the mark on one edge)
I keep you shiny with a quick squirt of Pledge.

We spend a lot of time together, you and me
Usually at breakfast, dinner and tea.
You watch as I coax the children to eat,
And sigh as I sweep their dinner from under your feet.

Kitchen table, friend of mine
So much more than a place to sit and dine.
So, I raise my mug and my slice of toast,
See you at the weekend for a Sunday roast.

Inspired by the excellent Josie at Sleep Is For The Weak who hosts a fabulous weekly Writing Workshop. Her prompt to look at, and write about, a room in your house led me to the kitchen table!


October 20, 2009


Flashing shoes: €28
Lightening McQueen duvet cover: €10
Scooter: €20
Fireman Sam fire engine: €15

The look on a small boy’s face when his beloved soft toy has been painstakingly sewn back together: priceless

There are some things money can buy. For everything else there’s mummy.


October 17, 2009

When I grow up I want to be a……Writer!

Well, I’m almost grown up and am (finally) on the way to being a writer, so when the people behind innocent kids drinks told me about their latest venture to discover young writing talent, I was very keen to get involved.

innocent have teamed up with acclaimed children’s author Francesca Simon, author of the excellent ‘Horrid Henry’ books, to get children across Ireland and the UK involved in creating a series of 26 stories.

Francesca has written the opening lines to each of these 26 stories, but starting on Monday 19th October, she is handing the rest of the story over to the kids! Who knows what will happen next?!

Every day, until 13th November, children can log onto select a letter of the alphabet which takes their fancy and continue Francesca’s story.

Each day, the winning line from each story submitted will be selected with prizes awarded to the winner. The competition then starts all over again the following day so there are plenty of chances to get involved.

What a great way to encourage creativity and inspire young minds to ‘get writing’.

For further details of rules and prizes, visit the website

Good luck everybody. Who knows - we may discover the next Francesca Simon or J K Rowling! Now, get writing!

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