Lunchbox friction. And dairy-free banana chocolate biscuits.

About to tackle the second week back at school and the Easter holidays seem like a distant memory, entangled as we are, once more, with Biff and Chip and PE kits and morning rush hours and after-school clubs and snack boxes. Packed lunches are a somewhat contentious issue in our house. The junior takes one…

Fat Rascals. (A treat, not an insult.)

Five days into the school holiday – of which four were the long weekend, where double parental supervision was applied – and we have worked through pretty much everything in the programme of activities I suggested, and now we’re lapping ourselves. It seems hopeful that the dismal drizzle and frosty temperatures may improve as the…

11 steps to a brilliant night’s sleep.

I seem to have been somewhere on the continuum between moderately fatigued and totally exhausted since my firstborn came onto the scene in early 2009. Of course, nobody with a small baby can realistically expect to have a decent amount of sleep, but somehow, even though my children reliably make it through the night without…

Staying sane in the hols.

School here has just broken up. I think parental emotions were mixed. Some seemed merely relieved to be avoiding the tyranny of 8:55 registration and acceptable packed lunches for two weeks, others focused on the 24/7 x 2 nature of the upcoming interaction with their progeny. Holidays without plans can  be hard-going. I am not…

Yorkshire Dales delight

My childhood holidays were numerous and wholesome, filled with blustery mountainsides and cycle paths and campsites, and now I find myself repeating the pattern with my own little badgers. This last weekend we had the most lovely stay in the Yorkshire Dales, where many a childhood half term was spent – I was reminded of…

Swimming hell. Spa heaven. And smoothies.

Swimming this morning was pretty much the least enjoyable way imaginable to spend a portion of the weekend. On any day, it is abysmal, with the cramped changing rooms, cold, trickling showers and the inevitability of a key item of clothing ending up in a puddle, but the perishing conditions outside meant that even the swimming…

Longest. Day. Ever. And dairy-free chocolate banana muffins.

Today has been exceptionally long. The children – now tucked up in bed, like sleeping cherubs – have been extremely trying for much of the day, especially the smaller one who has had at least 15 episodes of hysteria and temper. The cat, meanwhile, to put it delicately, has suffered some gastrointestinal distress and the…

Story time: brilliant books for young children.

It sounds revolting, in retrospect, but when my oldest daughter was in Special Care as a premature bambino, I took picture books in to read to her. I thought – maybe was told? – that it was important she heard my voice even from her incubator, but it was hard to make one-sided conversation with…

Healthy pancakes. And morning mayhem.

This morning, yet again, I was disappointed by the lack of any sort of medal awarded at the school gates for getting two little minxes in on time; clean(ish), dressed, fed, appropriately accessorised with water bottles and snacks and swimming kit. BUT NOTHING. Having been woken at 6:00am, thanks to our reliable 5 year old…

Freezer tea on a freezing day: (speedy fish pie recipe)

Today is cold; bitterly, perishingly cold – and I can’t face a trip to the supermarket. I sometimes can’t, having endured scarring incidents in both outlets offered in our little town. In the first I was asked for ID – at 37! How lovely! – but as the lady on the checkout shuffled closer in her…