The 20 stages of watching a film when you have children

20 stages of watching a film when you have children

Watching a film seems to have become a big event in our house since we had a baby. We always plan it but it hardly ever actually happens. Although it’s not as rare as our cinema going…the last film we saw was X-Men First Class, nearly three years ago.

In theory, watching a film should be a simple two step process of 1) pick film 2) watch film. But in practise, when you have children?

Here’s what it’s actually like: Continue reading

A chalkboard wall and toddler reading corner


Eliza’s room is probably my favourite place in the house. We wanted to make it bright, eclectic, colourful and as fun as possible for her.

You can see her Ikea spice-rack shelves and painted cupboard and doors, but here’s her cosy reading corner and blackboard wall. It’s in a recessed area by the chimney breast which wouldn’t have been used for anything, but was a perfect-sized toddler space.

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How HEMA brightened up our day

HEMA in the UK

Have you heard of HEMA? It’s the Dutch retail store that’s a mix between Muji, Tiger and the non-flatpack parts of Ikea. I first went in one last year in France, but it’s just opened in the UK in the past week. We were invited along to the launch of one of the new HEMA stores, in Bromley.

Just to put last week into content, it was hot, I was grumpy pregnant lady (watch out two letter kitchen providers, cake-bearing husbands and people on the bus). And was finding it tricky to constantly think of toddler entertainment tactics, while juggling work and trying to keep us both out of the half of the house that’s currently being converted.

But I left my rage at home and Eliza and I headed over. So what did we think?

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A new bath toy, and an eternal Dora earworm

Review of Dora the Explorer swimming mermaid bath doll toy

OK, parenting confession time. Occasionally, when Eliza wakes up freakishly early and won’t go back to sleep, we wedge her in bed between us with Netflix on the iPad so we can snooze. We try not to do this every day but you know, 5.45am = ouch.

She’s not complaining, as it means she gets to watch cartoons. Her favourite at the moment is Dora The Explorer. Dora has a habit of intense gazes, but she’s a pretty feisty young adventuress who also speaks Spanish, meaning it’s both feminist and educational (…right?)

So Eliza was pretty overjoyed when
Swimming Mermaid Dora arrived at our house, sent to us to review by Fisher Price.

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27 weeks pregnant: everything that annoyed me this week


If you were to believe popular culture, then pregnant women have around three emotions:

  • Open-mouthed shock or extreme excitement at the positive test
  • Serene, dreamy, naval-gazing introspection
  • Surprise when their waters break, usually over someone’s feet or in a busy shopping centre

But it’s not really like that, is it? Real life pregnancy emotions are more along the lines of:

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How not to talk to pregnant women; a handy guide


The complete nonsense that comes out of people’s mouths when faced with a pregnant woman never ceases to amaze me. It’s like the addition of a bump to a conversation means all common sense flies out of the window and creates an open season on ridiculous comments, where nothing is too personal and no body part off limits.

I’m not talking about friends, who can say anything, or your mum, who probably already has. But about most other people. And some of the random things they say.

Luckily for me, I live in London, where people would rather stab themselves in the foot with a fork than make some kind of chat. But still, some of the things I have heard from virtual strangers…

So; not sure what to say before opening your mouth to someone you barely know who is bumped up to the max? Here’s a guide, from the good, to the very, very bad. With some likely responses (although, as most people are polite enough to laugh them off, these are likely to go unspoken. Unless said pregnant lady is having a really hormonal day). Continue reading

Things to do before the baby arrives – the toddler edition

Activities to do with your toddler before a second baby arrives

Following my last pregnancy, I made a list of the ultimate things to do before the baby arrives and everything changes (original list here). Wine, sleep, socialising and appreciating your lovely untouched home featured heavily. First time pregnant mums, take note!

As we’re about three months off the arrival of baby two, I thought it might be a good time to revisit the list. But then I realised that as a mum, there’s not much hope for unlimited lie-ins or solo visits to art galleries and long afternoons in the pub, is there?

And this time round, the main changes aren’t going to be for me. Eliza has been the sole focus of our life for two and a half years, and is very excited about being a big sister, but it is a massive change for her.

So instead, I thought it wanted to make a list of things for all of us to do together, in the time we have left as a three (as well as spending as much time as possible together, just hanging out and doing the normal, everyday things). Here’s what sprung to mind: Continue reading

The real school sports day, mum and toddler style


It’ll probably come as no great surprise that I hated school sports. From the autumnal wet netballs deliberately aimed at your cold legs, to the frosty winter hockey pitch and the scorching heat of summer athletics, when you’re trying not to break a sweat to avoid the ritual humiliation of the communal shower, it’s fair to say I was not a fan.

And sports day is indeed the pinnacle of all this. The soft touch of junior school sack races is all fun and games, but when you go to senior school…urgh. Being forced to display your unathletic prowess while the whole school watched, including whatever guy you had a massive crush on that week, the horror. Under a sun that shows no mercy for pale, freckly ginger people. Why was there never a day for the things I was good at; writing stories, reading magazines, talking on the phone with my friends?

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