What does Father Christmas eat for breakfast? Weeto-ho-hos. (Sorry.)

Forget personality types - this is all I want to know right now: are you a short-and-sweet Christmas person, or a tree-up-in-November person? Mostly I like to keep my Christmas in December. I think it's more magical when it's extra-concentrated. Like condensed milk straight from the tin (YES). That is, until we got an invitation … Continue reading What does Father Christmas eat for breakfast? Weeto-ho-hos. (Sorry.)

Angry mummy: Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Tim is away for a fortnight. It's the longest he's ever been gone. The night before he went, I admitted I was nervous. 'It's not that I can't handle it', I told him. 'I can. We will be fine. It's just I've never done solo parenting for so long with two children AND a pregnancy. … Continue reading Angry mummy: Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

October, you beauty

Hello. Here I am, which is unusual enough, because whenever I have a spare hour and have to decide between Lying Still or Anything Else, the Lying Still tends to win. It's frustrating having to slow down, especially now the sickness has gone (whee!). I like to get on. I keep having to remember not … Continue reading October, you beauty

Chicken, and all my other love stories

When I want to give them Sunday, I give them roast dinner. Food is my love language; it’s the tongue I speak with most feeling. I remember bleary bouts of flu as a child, interrupted with lunch trays of velvety rich Heinz tomato soup, buttered crumpets cut into tiny triangles, webs of melted cheese skittering … Continue reading Chicken, and all my other love stories

Take three

I cried when I saw the little cross on the pregnancy test. I always do cry, because all those things you've signed up for nebulously, ambiguously, in your head, are now out of your head and busy turning into a blastocyst in your actual body. Suddenly they're all definitely going to happen. Doesn't matter how much … Continue reading Take three

Don’t worry, mama: the first day of school makes you cry for a reason

So anyway, that was the first week of school. H went back on Monday. My social media feeds have been full of kids going to school for the first time (and the accompanying parental meltdowns). It brought back last September for me in a great, vivid wave; I could almost taste it: the fear and … Continue reading Don’t worry, mama: the first day of school makes you cry for a reason

This feels like the stuff childhood is made of

Sometimes I disconnect during our camping trip to Dorset - mind buzzing up and away from its normal constraints under all that empty sky - and wonder what our ancestors would think, if they could see us leaving our safe, waterproof Life Boxes to sleep under a flimsy, pegged-down balloon. Voluntarily huddling round open flames … Continue reading This feels like the stuff childhood is made of

Real girls fly helicopters: why gender really matters on children’s TV

Kids have horrific taste in TV, but you don't hold it against them. Back in the tender early days of their development, when they watched three carefully vetted programmes occasionally and on rotation, I thought this TV thing would be a doddle. Har. They just didn't have trashy opinions yet, and trashy opinions always come. … Continue reading Real girls fly helicopters: why gender really matters on children’s TV

One thousand, eight hundred and twenty-six

  Dear Henry, Today is your birthday, and you are five. You are asleep, finally, after an exciting day where you have made all the important decisions: bacon and waffles for breakfast, a trip to London to visit the 'dinosaur museum', hot dogs and milkshakes for lunch, episodes of Transformers Rescue Bots for an evening … Continue reading One thousand, eight hundred and twenty-six

Something to bake (with kids): strawberry cheesecake muffins

Sometimes you bake with kids and it's a dream. They get on well, they take turns, everyone's laughing and just a little flour-smudged in a photogenic way, like you're in a Cath Kidston advert and someone's about to present you with a lifetime supply of floral patterns. Then other times you bake with kids and … Continue reading Something to bake (with kids): strawberry cheesecake muffins