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…

Lemon cake and poor fine motor skills.

The Easter weekend was a busy one for us. As is my wont in the school holidays, I was stricken with the sort of horrible germs that left me with a banging head, throbbing ears, chesty cough and a husky voice. “Like Mariella Frostrup?” I asked, hopefully. “More Les Dawson,” my husband confirmed. There was…

Beauty in the Aldi aisles.

I really hate food shopping. The crush in the aisles. The stress of the checkout. The godawful unpacking once home. It truly is one of my least favourite things to do. I do much of my shopping in Aldi these days, and I don’t think this helps any of the problems aforementioned. Our town offers…

Staying sane in the hols.

School here has just broken up for Easter. I think parental emotions were mixed. Some seemed merely relieved to be avoiding the tyranny of 8:55 registration and appropriate 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…

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…

Sustaining ginger nuts.

I was a very reluctant gym visitor this morning. I dressed appropriately, but my heart wasn’t really in it and I was rather hoping to bump into a friend on the way and be diverted to coffee. No such luck. After showing myself up with my inability to operate the vending machine (I was after…

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…

Thwarted snow day. And spicy red pepper soup.

Oh my, this weather! It is days like this that has me texting my husband with links to properties in Miami. He’s not always delighted to receive this in the middle of a meeting, or whatever it is he does during those hours between 7 and 6, presuming that this is another fad. True, I’ve never been…

Faffathons and fish cakes.

The relentless culinary demands of feeding two tiny tyrants often leaves me wretched – here I’d like to share some shortcuts to snapping approved by some harsh critics.

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…

Morning mayhem: (healthy pancake recipe)

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…

Ode to Cornwall.

After three nights in Cornwall I am consumed with thoughts of bracing sea air and cliff top walks and clotted cream.