Things I don’t miss about life before children


Are we too negative about motherhood? Everything I seem to read now is about how boring it is, or how much you have to give up and sacrifice, or how things become tricky and complicated when you have children.

Clearly, lots of people are missing a trick. Along with all the good stuff you get to do instead, there’s lots of the not-so-good things you never have to do again.

Here’s the things I don’t miss about life before children (let me know yours): Continue reading

We need to talk about the post-pregnancy rage…

Angry Bird

Warning: contains mildly cross content…

The trip on the post-partum emotional roller coaster can be a bumpy ride, can’t it? There are so many highs and lows, often all at once. There’s the post-birth elation and exhaustion, then the tired and tearful joys starting on day three, when your milk rocks up and the feel-good pregnancy hormones vacate your sleep-deprived body faster than a sprinter on steroids.

But what took me by surprise was that just about everything, a few weeks in, made me really, really cross. Not the baby, of course – look at their tiny toes! So unbelievably cute etc etc – but most other things at some point. The severe lack of sleep, haywire hormones and the massive slap-in-the-face culture shock of having a baby knocked me off my calm axis. And it’s one of the many things that no-one ever tells you about. Continue reading

Packing for two…plus two


Oh, the places you’ll go. But first there’s packing. When you have two children it’s a process that takes so long it starts before you’ve actually booked the holiday. 

Whereas packing for just two is purely done on fun (how many bikinis can I justify taking? Oh, here’s one more. Do I need another going out sundress? No…will chuck two in though. More matching underwear for sexy sun times? Sure!) Forget all that when you’re a four because packing is based on FEAR. Fear you’ll forget something important. Fear you’ll forget something for the baby. Fear that you’ll forget something for the toddler, who won’t ever let *you* forget it. Sure, they’ll have shops on holiday. But will it all be the same?

So there’s lists, and lists, and so much stuff. Will it ever all fit in?

Here’s what’s likely to happen:

* Despite taking a fully stocked pharmacy, the baby will need the one thing you didn’t pack. Snufflebabe in July, anyone?

* The toddler will attempt to put the baby in the suitcase

* Your husband will throw in his clothes, then wonder why it all takes so long. You’ll want to put him in the suitcase 

* You’ll spend so long buying cute rompers and pineapple patterned shorts for your children that you then leave it really late for yourself. Bring on the emergency 3am ASOS orders (consisting of of play suits, bright patterns and things that were on a fashion page because even though you’re a mum now, you’ve still got it! Cue a mad dash the post office to take it all back. It’s OK, because there’s no space for you in the case)

* Whatever you pack one of, you’ll always need two.

But all this packing is a useful distraction from the horror of dealing with your post-pregnancy bikini line. Remember those days of only taking hand luggage? They are long gone. I need a break… 

Happy 60th birthday, Miffy

One of the fun things about having children is introducing them to all the things from your own childhood. And one of the things I really, really loved when I was Eliza’s age was Miffy.

The Miffy books, with the bright primary colours and deceptively simple line drawings about the little rabbit were always my favourite, especially Miffy’s Birthday, a book I recently found saved in our loft (along with all my Judy Blume books).

My parents also gave me a box set of all the Miffy books as a jokingly nostalgic 21st birthday present, and I had no idea at the time I’d be reading them with my own daughter. But Eliza now loves them just as much as I did. We even used Miffy and the New Baby to explain about my pregnancy.

Did you know…?

  • Miffy was created in 1955 by Dutch artist Dick Bruna, who first drew sketches of a little bunny to entertain his young son whilst on a rainy seaside holiday in Holland
  • Miffy’s official birthday is 21 June (same as Prince William)
  • The Miffy stories have sold over 85 million storybooks worldwide and are now are translated into more than 50 languages.
  • Dick Bruna is the most borrowed author from Dutch libraries
  • Every picture of Miffy is created by hand using pencil & black poster paint, together with coloured card. Often it can take Bruna all day to get her expression just right
  • The Miffy brand is globally worth US$300 million

The Miffy books were recently relaunched in the UK, and there’s a whole range of books now, from the simple stories through to pop-ups, stickers and even Miffy milestone cards.

This year we’re working with Miffy as an ‘official’ Miffy Mum, and to celebrate Miffy’s birthday, I’m giving away a Miffy book bundle (it contains Queen Miffy, Miffy is Crying, and Miffy’s Garden).

To enter: Continue reading

Everything I learned from Judy Blume books

Who read Judy Blume books when they were growing up? More to the point, who didn’t read them? Never found on any official school reading list, her books – from Starring Sally J Freedman and Superfudge, through to Blubber, Tiger Eyes, Deenie and Forever – were instead passed down from person to person, like the most effective word of mouth campaign ever. They were essential reading for all girls of a certain age.

Judy Blume books - essential reading for teenagers?

I read last week that Judy Blume has written her first new novel in years, and that same day I found a box of my favourite childhood reads in our loft while looking for my summer clothes. At the top of the pile were all my well thumbed, dog eared copies of her books. It was like opening a Pandora’s box of pre-teen Proustian rushes.

Judy Blume books - the back

Along with my love of Just17 magazine, these books were the ones that pretty much shaped my early adolescence. While 1980′s America didn’t have a lot in common with the suburban Shropshire of my own childhood, it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter that instead of the amazing sounding ‘mall’ you had the boring old Telford Shopping Centre, or that you were never going to be taken to prom by the high school heartthrob that had secretly been in love with you all along, because you didn’t have a prom and all the boys at school were just bleh and you had frizzy hair and braces, because the books transcended all cultural boundaries.

Years before the pick-n-mix an issue of Hollyoaks and ages before you ever probably did anything, they dealt with a whole range of early teen topics, from friendship and bullying (Blubber), to bras and periods (Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret) and the massive ones of death (Tiger Eyes), snogging (Here’s to you, Rachel Robinson) and the one that made you get out the dictionary (Deanie, with her scoliosis). Although they might have appeared daring and slightly risqué to an adult, to us they were always perfectly pitched, and were how girls of my pre-Google era learned things, along with problem pages, school yard chat and the More! Magazine Position of Week the you all once saw and were secretly really shocked by.

Flicking through them now it struck me how eternal the issues all are, and how much I really did learn from Judy Blume… Continue reading

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