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)

February 26, 2010

Handbags at dawn and some sunshine

I've been bag-tagged by the lovely Diney at 'Older Mums Are Fun'. She has challeged me to spill the contents of my handbag. I love this idea, although having rummaged through the murky depths of my current bag-about-town, I'm not entirely sure what my contents reveal about me. Anyway, I am what I am, as they say, so (fanfare, drumroll), here is the 'Hot Cross Bag', exposed for all the world to see (in order of the stuff I found in there).

1. Two empty raisin boxes and a handful of stray raisins (always a joy to encounter when you're fishing around for a pen).

2. A Clinique lippie (rarely used), a hand sanitiser (because sinks in toilets are always far too high for little hands to reach), a cotton wool pad (?)

3. Two mini boxes of Smarties from a birthday party last weekend, a card of Bryon the excavator from Thomas, tissues and some Flaxseed given to me weeks ago by a friend.

4. A pen, a card of Patrick the cement mixer from Thomas, two Breast Cancer Awareness cards from my friend's wedding.

5. My writing notebook.

6. A pile of shopping lists, receipts and Post Its.

7. Two more empty raisin boxes and a crumpled up piece of tin foil.
There was also my purse and phone and lots of crumpled up tissues - some used, some new.

This was all very therapeutic and I now have a much tidier and less raisin-infested handbag! I now pass this challenge onto the bloggers listed below, who I would also, and at the same time, like to pass the Sunshine Award onto. This was given to me a few weeks ago (ooops, sorry), by RebaMc at
'two{become}four'. The rule of the award is to

•Put the Logo on your sidebar, or within a post.
•Pass the award onto 12 Bloggers.
•Link the nominees within your post.
•Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
•Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

So the handbag challenge and this slice of sunshine are passed to:

Karen at If I Could Escape
Caz at The Truth About Mummy
Mummy Limited
Emma K at Mommy Has a Headache
Make Do Mum
Plate Spinner
Lada Mama
Bumbling Along
Northside Mum
Colette at Funky Mammy
Ian at Single Parent Dad (go on - reveal the contents of your man-bag!)


February 23, 2010

Elephants and small boys never forget

After the latest influx of toys into the house from birthdays and Christmas last year, I had my annual toy decluttering session in January. This involves getting four bin bags and sorting through the storage boxes we have dotted all over the house (a feeble attempt at restraining the toys as they always find a way out).

Some toys get put in the bag for moving up to the attic – this is a sort of half-way-house for toys which have been grown out of but are handy to hold onto for when friends with younger kids come to play or stay.

Some toys get put in the bag for fixing – a sort of toy triage bag. These are the lucky ones.

Some get thrown into the rubbish bag. These are generally the free plastic crap attached to the front of magazines and various other bits and pieces which have fallen apart – helicopter blades, tractor wheels, broken arms, rogue heads – toy zombies, if you will.

Then a final group gets put into the charity bag.

The eldest has a say in all of this and I make absolutely sure that he is happy for things to be put into certain bags. “Are you sure you don’t play with this one any more?”, “Yes mummy. We can give that one to charity. That’s fine.”

So, having gone through this very careful process, it’s a bit frustrating when this week he started asking for most of the toys we threw out or gave away. “Mummy,” he wails, “I really liked my tow truck and I don’t have it now. And my Flex is broken and I can’t find the missing piece,” (the missing piece had enough jagged edges on it to cut diamonds so was chucked out) and “Mumeeeeeeee, I really, really want to play with my Gripper and Grabber (magazine tat).”

Just like elephants, my boy, it would seem, never forgets. Maybe I’ll have a fifth bag next year for toys that should be thrown out or given to charity but may be looked for again at some point in the not so distant future!


February 20, 2010

'Motherhood' movie: DVDs to be won

First there was Christmas Eve, and now there is Mother's Day Eve - whatever next?!

To promote the release of new movie 'Motherhood', starring Uma Thurman and Minnie Driver – Asda, and Metrodome Distribution are launching a new date for the diary - Mother's Day Eve. As you might expect, this will fall on Saturday 13th March, the night before Mothering Sunday, 14th March 2010.

'Motherhood' follows mum Eliza Welch (Thurman) and the chaos of her day trying to prepare for her daughter's sixth birthday party. The main character is a former fiction writer-turned-mom-blogger with her own site, “The Bjorn Identity.” (all sounds very familiar to more than a few of us I should think - except for the fact that we are trying to become fiction writers).

If you'd like a copy of the movie on DVD (available from 8th March) please leave a comment below with your email or Twitter address. Three winners will be selected at random from the list.

You can also log onto for downloadable Mother's Day Eve pampering vouchers and further details about the film.
Good luck.
Thanks to everyone who entered: this competition is now closed and the winners were Jen, Bumbling Along and Muddy No Sugar.


February 19, 2010

Mum flirting

Have you ever felt as though you were flirting with another mum in an attempt to become her friend? I have.

It’s hard making new mummy friends and since leaving my professional alter-ego behind, I seem to have become a bit of a social cripple. Professionally, I’d have no problem networking a room, striking up a conversation and making new contacts. In my domestic environment, I don’t seem to be able to do any of this.

I feel like a stalker; scouring the faces of other mums at the playground or toddler group to see if any of them look like potential friends. I feel mildly jealous when other mums start chatting to each other and I try to find an opportunity to join in, “That’s hilarious!! Exactly the same thing happened to me last week. Will you be my friend? Please?”

Even if I do start chatting to another mum as we swing our children, what then? How do you go from polite chatter to coffee to a night out? It’s like a slow dating process; awkward first exchanges, more comfortable familiarity over a number of weeks, possibly mobile numbers exchanged. But what then? Do you call them or do you wait for them to call you first? Do you just send a friendly text instead? It’s worse than dating!

I wish I could just come straight out with it. “Hello. I’m a mum looking for friends. Would you like to be my friend? I don’t want to snog you or anything. I just want someone to chat to over coffee and maybe have a laugh with. Nothing complicated. No formal commitment needed. So, how about it? Coffee at my place tomorrow?”

As the movie title says, It’s complicated!

p.s. thank you to everyone who commented on my previous post about having a bad week. I am pleased to say it is gradually getting better!


February 17, 2010

Not a blog post

After careful consideration, I have decided not to write a post about the rubbish week I’m having. I’m not sure it would make for the most pleasant reading.

So I won’t be telling you about the fact that neither of my children have eaten properly for what seems like days as they look at me with disgust whenever I put a plate of food in front of them which isn’t cheese sandwiches.

I won’t dwell on the fact that my car doors locked themselves this morning, when the keys were in the ignition because I was trying to warm the car up so it was nicer for the boys to get into. I also won’t say anything about the fact that my husband snoozed soundly under the duvet while I sorted this out.

I won’t be telling you about the fact that after arranging for my four-year-old to play at a friend’s house this afternoon, my two-year-old was so upset about the fact that he wasn’t included that he actually threw up. I also won’t mention the absolute, off-the-richter-scale temper tantrum the four-year-old then threw when I went to collect him to bring him home.

I won’t write anything about the broken tumble drier or the fact that I am drowning in a sea of semi-dry clothes.

Oh, and I won’t bore you with the fact that my two-year-old has refused to put his coat on all week without having a massive meltdown.

So, instead of all that I’m not going to write a post today. Instead I’m going to hope for a good night’s sleep and start again tomorrow. As you do.


February 15, 2010

Surreal, but true.

'Choose your 10 most surreal mummy moments' is the challenge offered by Carly at Wives and Daughters. Hmmm, just 10? That's tough. I could fill pages with surreal mummy moments! Anyway, after much deliberation, I've finally selected my top 10. So here you go!

1. Seeing my first positive pregnancy test. This has to be one of the most surreal moments for any parent.

2. Being taken down to the ward after having my first baby. He'd had to be taken to the ICU. I was the only mum on the ward without her new baby by her side. It was an awful, awful and very surreal feeling.

3. Changing a particularly disastrous nappy on a pew at the back of the church of my brother-in-law's wedding in Spain, with the Spanish photographers's assistant trying to help me.

4. Walking off a plane covered from the waist down in my child's vomit.

5. Waking up one morning to find my two-and-a-half year old in bed beside me and my husband asleep in the two-and-a-half-year-old's bed. Nobody had any recollection of this bed swap taking place.

6. My 7 month old throwing the car keys behind a radiator in a restaurant in France. The radiator was so tight against the wall we could see no easy way of getting them out. He then proceeded to projectile vomit all over me, the floor, the table and very nearly the next table. We couldn't make a hasty retreat because of the car keys. We left some time later with our heads held very, very low.

7. My first day at home alone with our new baby. I think I just sat and stared at him for about an hour.

8. Seeing my two-year-old son in my high heels, his nappy and vest and waving a fairy wand.

9. Climbing up a bouncy castle slide to rescue my son who had panicked at the top. Sliding back down with several toddlers in front of all the other parents was surreal but great fun!

10. Hearing my four-year-old saying from the back seat of the car last week , "Mummy, can you please turn the music down. I am trying to read."


February 12, 2010

Products for Mums


The new fragrance especially for mums.

With subtle undertones of exhaustion and rage, complemented by hints of frustration and self-doubt with a heady aroma of worry.

Don't just be. Be "Frazzled"


February 8, 2010

If four-year-olds could blog


My mummy said that I could watch a few minutes of Thomas on the computer, but I have secretly logged in to her blob.

Mummy is always writing stories in her blob (I think that’s what she says it is called). I’ve asked her what she is writing about but she just says, “Oh, not much. Stuff.” I bet she’s writing a secret story for us about trains and dinosaurs and monsters. I hope so. It would be really boring if she was just writing stories about being a mummy and complaining about how tough it all is.

As far as I can see, being a mummy is really, really, easy. She just has to tidy up a bit and go to the shops when we run out of milk, bread, yoghurts or Babybels. Oh, and I suppose she sometimes has to drive us all to her friend’s house so she can chat and eat cake and lots of biscuits.

I sometimes ask her to play Spiderman or Star Wars which is really easy. She’s a bit rubbish at Spiderman but she’s quite good at Star Wars and makes good Jedi costumes for us out of big t-shirts and dressing gown belts.

I suppose she does sometimes have to get our dinner and tea ready but that must be really easy as well. I’ve helped mummy make cakes before and all you have to do is put everything into the mixing machine and put it into the oven, so I suppose that must be how she makes our dinner and tea.

Most mornings, mummy says she’s getting really cross because we won’t get dressed or brush our teeth properly. But it’s silly getting cross about little things like that. I only get cross about really important things like whose turn it is to get out of the bath first and having my sandwiches cut into triangles.

I think mummy probably needs to go to bed a bit earlier rather than sitting up all night writing anyway, because she’s always saying she’s “tired of it all.”

Anyway, I can hear her coming up the stairs now so I’d better get back to my Thomas page. Promise not to tell her I was writing on her blob. I think she likes to keep it a little bit secret.
Max (aged 4 and a half)


February 5, 2010

Catching up on homework

I have been rather rubbish lately at keeping up to date with some memes which have come my way. This is very remiss of me and to make amends I will now do three at once!

First up, the lovely Emily at
Babyrambles tagged me with the 'Stories and Songs' meme which asks you to select a favourite song and tell the story behind it.

My song is 'Step On' by The Happy Mondays. This is one of those songs which transports you right back to a certian time and place in your life as soon as you hear it. For me, it transports me back to Manchester and my university years. 'Madchester' as it was then know was quite simply 'the' place to be for the student music scene; The Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Charlatans, The Hacienda, Afflecks Palace...all so new and so exhilarating to a naive young girl from a tiny village in Yorkshire! Step On was played everywhere that year and, to this day, takes me back to my student days and some very happy memories. Plus, it's a bloody good tune!

Insomniac Mummy tagged me with the 'Shiny Happy People' meme which was started by the very shiny and happy Ms Rosie Scribble. The rules of Rosie's Meme are to:

Name a song that makes you happy - a song you would listen to if you needed a sudden injection of happiness (see above song choice!) and an image that makes you smile, it can be anything - a silly photo, an image taken from the internet, anything at all that puts a smile on your face (and isn't too rude!)"

My image of choice is this, courtesy of Miss Anne Taintor.

The final meme is from 'The Last of The Mojitos' (what a brilliant name!) who tagged me with the '10 Favourite Things' meme. So, here are my current '10 Favourite Things'.

1. Crinkly paper
2. Crisp, sunny autumn mornings
3. A large cup of coffee accompanied by a large slice of carrot cake
4. The smell of washing when it has dried on the line outside (I do have a domestic goddess lurking somewhere within me)
5. Daffodils and crocuses peeping through the ground
6. Catching up with old friends
7. Unexpected kind gestures
8. My imitation Uggs - so inexpensive and yet soooo comfy!
9. Philosophy 'Cinnamon Buns' shower creme. One word. YUM!
10. My Lily-Flame 'Daisy Dip' candle. If heaven had a smell, this would be it.

I now pass these memes onto the following. I will leave it up to each of you to pick and choose which ever meme/s you would like to take on. Enjoy!

Who's The Mummy
New Mummy
Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy
Brits In Bosnia
Really Rachel
Make Do Mum
A Mother's Ramblings
It's A Mummy's Life


February 3, 2010

Little Croc's Purse

This is a Hot Cross Mum Book Review. Did you know it was National Storytelling Week?

Although it wouldn't have necessarily occurred to me to buy a book about honesty, sharing and giving, 'Little Croc's Purse' deals with these issues really well.

Written by Lizzie Finlay (recently long-listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal for her first book Dandylion), Little Croc's Purse looks at the moral dilemma of what to do if you find someone's purse. The illustrations are vibrant and humorous and the story of Little Croc's dilemma is well thought out. Despite his croc pals suggesting that he take the money, and teasing him when he refuses to do so, Little Croc does the honorable thing and sets out to find the purse's rightful owner.

When the owner is eventually found, she is not concerend about the money in the purse, but is relieved to find a locket with a picture of her husband inside. She rewards Little Croc for his honesty by giving him the money.

Again, the issue of what to do with all the cash is well handled. He divides the money into three envelopes: Spend, Share and Save and with it he gets a treat for himself, donates to charity, buys lemonade for all his friends and starts saving up for a cowboy hat!

Little Croc's Purse is a lovely book which I would highly recommend. My four-year-old really enjoyed it and has asked for again and again at bedtime. The fact that he now wants a pink purse of his own is another story!


February 2, 2010

Separation Anxiety

How do you manage the tricky process of leaving your children? Whether you're just popping out to the shops for an hour on a weekend for some much-needed mummy time, or for a rare night out with friends or for - hallelujah - an overnight stay somewhere, what do you actually tell the children?

I ask because we left our boys with their auntie, uncle and cousins for two days and nights last weekend while we hot-footed it to London for a wedding (which was utterly fabulous thank you N & D x). While I can have an - almost - sensible conversation with my four-year-old about such trips away and explain where we are going, what we will be doing and who will be looking after him, it's a little less straightforward with the two-year-old.

You see, if I say to him that "mummy and daddy are going away for a couple of nights and will be back on Sunday", he will hear the words, "mummy is leaving and never coming back" and will be understandably very upset about this. He finds it mildly unacceptable if I leave the room without him, never mind leaving the house without him, so I usually tell him I am just popping out to get some milk. He likes milk. He likes milk a lot, so I think he finds this an acceptable reason for me to temporarily leave him. However, this is a lie most of the time and lying to my child makes me feel bad.

So, instead of telling him the truth last weekend, I told him that mummy and daddy were going out for a little while and would be back later. 'Back later' being a relative term. I decided not to mention anything about milk as a two day journey to fetch milk is clearly stretching the truth, even in the world of a two-year-old. So, we sneaked away while he was distracted with his cousin's train set and re-appeared just as magically two days later.

In any event, the sensible chat with my four-year-old turned out to be pretty futile as the first thing he said to me when we got back was, "Hello Mummy, you said you were only going to be a few minutes". He might just as well have said, "Hello Mummy. Welcome back to Guilts-ville. Population, you."

I just wonder what other 'departure tactics' anyone else uses which may be more effective than mine, less furtive or involve less blatant lies.
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