Big lorry! And other parenting habits it’s pretty hard to break

parenting habits it's hard to break

Last week I was on my way out for dinner with some friends. Minus child. You know the drill; paw-print free clothes, lipstick, tiny bag, combination of impractical shoe and delicate jewellery, happy mood, walking down the road looking forward to sitting on the top deck of the bus and having a (tiny) glass of wine and lots of chat later, and then something trundled past me on the road, and…


I looked around…was that in my head or did I actually say that…out loud?

Eliza loves big lorries, so we take great pleasure in shouting them out to her at all times; trips out of the house are like a game of big lorry bingo.

But she was at home, asleep. And I was out, alone. Still pointing out the big lorries driving down the road.

It’s a funny thing, parenting. You may seem like a normal person when you’re out without them – look, no pram, and both my boobs are away! – but underneath…you bear all the hallmarks of the secret signs it’s hard to shake off.

How many of the following have you actually done…minus child? Continue reading

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