Sister, sister


Growing up, I always wanted a sister. If either of my two brothers are reading – I’d be surprised if they are – then brothers are brilliant, in their own fraternal way, and maybe it was a grass is greener type scenario but yes, I really wanted a sister.

The older sisters of my friends seemed to be the stuff of awe-inspiring legends. They were the gateway to clothes and make-up we weren’t yet allowed and couldn’t afford, a never-ending source of secrets about all the important stuff and gatekeeper of unlimited supplies of magazines and illicit copies of Forever. But more than anything else, they were gentle playmates, partners for making up dance routines and ready-made confidants. In my sibling set I got bricks, blocks and being trapped in cupboards and the overall unfairness of my friends who always fancied them vs their friends who never fancied me. Continue reading

Toddler entertainment tactics when you have a new baby

Fisher Price Disney Princess stable

One of the things that worried me about being a mum of two was how to keep my toddler happy when feeding the baby. Most of my memories of first-time early motherhood involve being glued to the sofa, trapped under a milk-drunk sleeping newborn. As blissful as this is, it isn’t quite so feasible the second-time-round when you have a toddler to look after too.

The best advice I was given about feeding was to do it propped up on a cushion on the floor so you can play with the toddler at the same time, making sure they don’t feel left out or abandoned. As it turns out, F is more of a sprint snacker and we’re also a lot more mobile this time – probably a mix of confidence and necessity – and pretty much do most things with a baby on the boob. But this advice has really helped, especially when you factor in floor-based activities that are fun (and aren’t too mind-numbingly tedious for me). So what’s worked for us? Continue reading

Five ways to be more organised in 2015


Are you trying to become more organised in 2015, and looking for things that could help?

One of my aims for the new year was to banish my baby brain and general all-round new mum tired forgetfulness. I’ve been using the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 for a few weeks to see how it can help me sort things out in the organisational department (unfortunately it can’t help you get more sleep, but if you have small children I’m not sure anything can).

You can see my initial review of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, as well as my unboxing video, but here are five of my top tips so far: Continue reading

Party politics – children’s birthdays, from 1980


My first-born baby turns three in two weeks (Three! I know). So we’ve recently been thinking about how to celebrate. As she’s loved every single second of every party she’s been to, it was clear how much she’d like one of her own.

I skirted around the issue for a while because here’s the thing; the idea of hosting a children’s birthday party is ever-so-slightly terrifying. It’s a scary world it seems, one of entertainment one-upmanship and party bag perfection in which people send invoices to children who don’t attend, if you believe the news. I doubt my strategy for grown-up parties – wine, wine, food, more wine anyone? – will cut the mustard with a group of pre-schoolers (the parents, on the other hand…)

I expressed these concerns to my mum, “Aha” she said. “I’ll send you something.” A few days later a parcel arrived and in it was the blueprint to all my childhood celebrations, an old book from M&S called Giving a Children’s Party. Like everyone of the pre-Internet era, my mum bought books when she wanted to research things, and this one from 1980 outlines everything you need to know in the world of party planning, from ideas for themes to invites and food.

The 80s to me was the golden era of birthday celebrations; it was my party heyday, back when things really were all fields. But how different was advice for children’s parties 35 years ago? Let’s take a look at how kids partied like it was 1980. Continue reading

My bid to banish the baby brain in 2015

My name is Gill, and I have a really bad case of baby brain. Sleep deprived, hormonal and as a result, ever-so-slightly forgetful? Yes, yes, and yes…that’s me.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2015 is to be more organised in a bid to banish my baby brain. Although this probably won’t make me remember what I went into rooms for, or stop me leaving whole bags of shopping on the counter, I do think this will go some way to help.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet review

And help is at hand. I’m using the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet to try out and see how it can assist me in keeping to my New Year’s Resolution (if you’ve not heard of the Surface tablet, it’s basically the functionality of a laptop combined with the portability and touch screen joys of a tablet – you can see the range of Microsoft Surface tablets on the Argos website). Continue reading

My 2015 UK travel wish list


The types of holiday I have taken seem to have varied wildly depending on my age and life stage. My late teens and early twenties were mainly about backpacking in the usual gap year places – India, Asia, Australia. Once I started working it was all city breaks, long haul and as much luxury as possible. Adding children into the equation changed things somewhat – family holidays and even a cruise – but now we have a new baby, I suspect it will be a while before we attempt anything really adventurous overseas.

Staying closer to home and holidaying in the UK makes perfect sense for us this year. But it doesn’t mean we can’t go to places that aren’t new to us. So here are the top five places I’d like to visit this year;

  • Brighton – So close to London, and a place I think my beach-loving toddler would be thrilled to visit
  • Edinburgh – guilty admission time, despite being about as far around the world as you can go, I’ve never been to Scotland (unless you count the stopover en route to Canada where we didn’t even set foot in the airport – I don’t)
  • Bristol – most of my blogging friends are from here, including Eleanor of The Bristol Parent, and I’ve heard so many amazing things (read Eleanor’s article on great things to eat in Bristol).
  • Bournemouth – a place we visit a lot, due to grandparents, but we always find new things to do and have such a fantastic time. As well as sun and lovely beaches, there’s lots for children to do in Bournemouth 
  • London – OK,  so it’s cheating adding this to the list for obvious reasons, but I think it would be really fun to be a tourist in our own city, as there’s still lots of things to do with children in London we’ve not got round to doing…yet.

This post is in association with Travelodge, and I’m also giving away one night’s stay in a Travelodge of the winner’s choice.

To enter:

Leave a comment below via the Rafflecopter widget telling me where in the UK you’d like to visit in 2015. For additional entries, visit the A Baby on Board Facebook page, follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

This prize draw giveaway starts at 12am on Sunday 18th January, and closes at 12am on Monday 2nd February.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Five things for the weekend


Hi, Friday…where has the week gone? I have about ten posts I meant to publish still in drafts. I would blame doing my tax return, but I’ve not done that yet either.

We do have a sleep adverse baby at the moment. Usually to be found sleeping on one of us until we go to bed, she now wants to party all evening instead. I don’t mind; I have a theory it’s a bid for this second sister to get some time alone with us – and we love it – but yes, still getting nothing done.

So here’s five really random thoughts for the end of the week. Continue reading

How not to go to playgroup, in three months


Playgroup has been a bit of a fairytale for me and the toddler. No, not like that, we’re not that lucky – just that we’ve had to kiss a lot of frogs before we found our playgroup prince.

After trying out a couple that included ‘the one miles away on the bus’ and ‘the toast playgroup’ (named for the only redeeming factor) we found a lovely one in a beautiful old church that we both liked. For the toddler there were fun toys and the all important biscuits – food is clearly a big factor in these decisions – and friendly parents and only a mild post-playgroup headache for me.

But here’s the thing; for one reason or another we’ve not made it back since the week I was due to have the baby, nearly three months ago.

So how has this happened? Continue reading