Five books…to help your kids love words

I'm trying hard to be casually enthusiastic about numbers with H at the moment. I am naturally a words person, and numbers both bore and frighten me. Which isn't so bad for me, because my days of mental maths tests are over. But I do not want to pass it on to them, and my coverage … Continue reading Five books…to help your kids love words

My walls, my rules (+ art print GIVEAWAY!)

You will never find me on a home improvement blog. I have no colour sense, and no idea how to 'style' corners (whatever that means). But you will have to prise my wall art out of my cold, dead fingers. Everything on our walls is meaningful to us, and it makes even our sad old … Continue reading My walls, my rules (+ art print GIVEAWAY!)

Seven little things that have made my life better in 2016

  I've been spending my nights mostly not asleep this week. I've had a couple of imagine-all-the-horrible-ways-you-could-lose-your-children sessions (MOTHERHOOD, THE BEST) and then last night, somewhat more prosaically, I spent hours seized up with fear about not having put the bin out. I dunno what's causing it. It's new to me. Brains are great, sometimes. … Continue reading Seven little things that have made my life better in 2016

Two time-stoppers

(i) I am walking to school. Pushing the pushchair with two hefty toddlers in it, wellies mud-streaked, balancing H's scooter over the top with a spare finger, sweaty enough to make me feel like this is exercise. It's one of my favourite things to do. The light is grey as steel, but the woods look … Continue reading Two time-stoppers

Just take the damn nap

My littlest goes to sleep with a fluffy cat and dog, one under each arm. And his Own Thomas train (I still don't know which one this is), and a rubber killer whale, and usually a giant plastic crane, which he talks to for forty minutes before dropping off. I don't need such elaborate sleeping … Continue reading Just take the damn nap

Something to bake: raspberry and hazelnut flapjack bars

I bake for lots of reasons. Because I need to bring refreshments somewhere. Because I need to supply our cupboards more conveniently with emergency cake. And for comfort, of course, always for comfort. In a week in which David Bowie and Alan Rickman have both passed on unexpectedly, plus that avalanche earlier in the week and … Continue reading Something to bake: raspberry and hazelnut flapjack bars

How to make someone feel better about anything (for Grandpa, 1928-2015)

It was..somewhere in 2007, or 2008? I was intensely vulnerable, cramped, unsettled, unhappy. Nowhere near my best self, and painfully aware of it. Something small had happened to make me feel all of those things more acutely. I sat in my mother-in-law's car, shivering, with a knot in my stomach. On Grandpa's driveway (Tim's Grandpa, … Continue reading How to make someone feel better about anything (for Grandpa, 1928-2015)

Why I won’t be wishing you the ‘best year ever’ in 2016

Happy new year! (Yes I know it's too late to say that, but I'm still asking people about their Christmas, because my small talk regularly wins awards.) It is the new year, but I won’t be wishing you the best year ever. And it’s not because I don’t like you, because I do. Very much. … Continue reading Why I won’t be wishing you the ‘best year ever’ in 2016

2015, in bits and pieces

I had a professor once, at university, who sat us down at the beginning of our module - the two of us, in the study we'd had to go through three quads and two staircases to find - and gave us a reading list of books and articles he'd written himself. And that was, like, … Continue reading 2015, in bits and pieces

The Christmas life

Bring in a tree, a young Norwegian spruce, Bring hyacinths that rooted in the cold, Bring winter jasmine as its buds unfold: Bring the Christmas life into this house. Bring red and green and gold, bring things that shine, Bring candlesticks and music, food and wine. Bring in your memories of Christmas past, Bring in … Continue reading The Christmas life