Monthly Archives: February 2012

Argh, help. It’s dress-up day at school

I’ve just found out that Stan needs to go to school in costume this Thursday, for World Book Day. I could reprise last year’s Gruffalo outfit…

But last year he was young enough not to notice the quality differences between his costume and a fellow classmate…

Two Gruffalos

I think I can only get away with that one once.

Any suggestions?


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First steps – from baby to toddler (and a free photo)

So, aged 13 months, Gertie finally took the plunge and wobbled from Bevis to me. And back again. And back again. (She was very pleased with herself). It prompted an immediate trip to Clarks to buy some shoes. I have recently been feeling rather judged at mums’ groups when Gerts rocks up in just socks, and I think a shoeless toddler is probably social services fodder. Anyway – the staff at Clarks offered to take a family polaroid of this momentous occasion, which for some reason Bevis and I found hilarious. I love this picture – check out Stan’s debonair pose.

Clarks first shoes

Living it up at Clarks




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English: Red Pinterest logo

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve just discovered Pinterest. Not sure if mine is a pioneering exploration or if I’m late on this bandwagon, but, either way, I think I’m going to like it.

The first time I logged on to Facebook and the profiles of my email contacts who were already on there popped up, I was sucked in. I didn’t quite get it, but it compelled me to come back. But whereas with Facebook it took a while to see how and why I would make room for it in my life – not so with Pinterest: I’m hooked after just 48 hours. Continue reading


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The games we play: five fun activities for four(ish)-year-olds

Apparently the average attention span of a four-year-old is still no longer than 5-10 minutes, which in theory means 6-12 activities are needed for every hour they are awake. Coming up with 124 nuggets of amusement each day is an undertaking beyond my capabilities, but I am always on the lookout for new simple games I can play with Stanley. Here are a few we have devised recently:

1) Musical statues with ‘freezing categories’. Like normal musical statues we dance to the music and freeze when it stops, but as we dance we pick a category that we are going to freeze as. Today’s categories included animals from the zoo (Stan a gorilla, me a meercat); firemen poses (me holding a hose, Stan rescuing someone from a window); Australian animals (a rather limited category this one, but I was a koala and Stan was a kangaroo). We also had Winnie the Pooh characters, princesses and members of our own family. The best thing about this version of the game is it is just as much fun with only two players as you can guess who or what each other are. Continue reading


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Lock down: Day 15. Entertaining sick children.

It’s been 355 hours since all four members of my family were well. That’s 355 hours since I’ve been out of the house for anything other than emergency trips to top up on sticker-book supplies or Kleenex.

During this time the England football team has lost a manager, Fred Goodwin has lost a Sir and scientists have found a possible cure for Alzheimer’s. Romney has emerged as the frontrunner in the US Republican candidate elections, Santorum has emerged as the frontrunner in the US Republican candidate elections and Jordan has appeared on Newsnight.

During this time I have learned all the words to the Mr Bloom’s Nursery theme tune, including the tricky rap bit (“cabbage, runner beans, tomatoes and a marrow”). Continue reading

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Febrile convulsions: been there, done that

UPDATE: I have also written an article for The Guardian on this topic, which you can read here

Last week I took my four-year-old son Stanley (and by default my one-year-old daughter, Gertie) to see Fireman Sam: Live at the Hammersmith Apollo*. It was a birthday gift from Grandad and so we were our usual top-heavy arrangement of several thousand grown-ups to the one over-indulged grandchild (and Gertie of course, but no one’s interested in her yet).

But as entertaining as Sam and the gang were, this post is not about events in Pontypandy, but rather our own emergency on the journey home. Before I go any further I should make a loud announcement for any concerned friends/relatives that EVERYTHING TURNS OUT OK IN THE END. But it was pretty alarming along the way. Continue reading


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Why start a blog in the first place?

There’s a New York and London comedy night called Cringe where members of the audience are invited on stage to read aloud their childhood diaries entries or angst-ridden teenage poetry. A head-in-hands humiliation jam, it’s bearable (and hilarious) because we can all enjoy laughing at our younger self-indulgent ramblings safe in the knowledge that now, we are grown ups.

In my opinion writing a blog is not much different to keeping a diary, just with a bit more subject focus. (Though my teenage diaries were pretty focused on boys and whether they fancied me or my bf Alison). But the thing that’s really self-indulgent about a blog is that posts are written in the expectation that other people will read them. You’ve got to be pretty confident to put yourself out there like that. And have something to say. Continue reading


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