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Category Archives: Family

To sleep or not to sleep?

Um, not, in our case.

When Max was a baby we co-slept for a month or so as he wouldn’t go in his Moses basket and it made for lazy easy feeding in the foggy first weeks.

Since then he’s never slept in our bed, something we’ve actually been quite pleased about as we went though a spell of major problems with Finn after he was ill, slept in our bed for ages (comfort for him, peace of mind for us) then we had HUGE problems trying to get him back into bed. It resulted in very little sleep (me) and loads of tears (both of us).

Buuuut…When Max and I were ill last month, we slipped into the habit of sleeping together. He was so poorly he just wasn’t settling so it made sense to have him in with me as he just wanted cuddles the whole time. To be fair, I was feeling rough and that’s all I wanted too (apart from paracetamol, ibubrofen, Vicks Sinex and Beechams. Quite a cocktail) so we enjoyed a few weeks of restful nights snuggled in together.

Sure, he looks cute. Not so much at 2am with feet in your ribs.

Now, however, it’s not so enjoyable. He’s going to sleep fine in his own bed but sneaks in, ninja-style in the dead of night. The proceeds to kick, punch, squash and duvet-hog for the remainder of the night. The time has come to get him sleeping all night in his own bed again but how, without the trauma we had with Finn?

I’ve had a few good suggestions on Twitter which I’ll try but does anyone else have ideas for no-cry solutions? I’d love to hear from you if you’ve had a similar experience. My sanity depends on it.




We have a colourful history with camping trips. In the 10 years Andy and I have been together, we’ve not once had a camping trip which hasn’t seen some kind of drama. We’ve had floods, breakdowns on the way home (resulting in us sleeping in the car), flat car batteries (resulting in us sleeping in the car on a racecourse. Yes, really) snowstorms, God awful campsites, illness, stir-crazy toddlers. You name it, it’s probably happened to us.

So, we thought we’d make our lives a bit easier, and more comfortable, and buy a campervan. We sold our second car and used the proceeds to buy Bertie, a 1982 Bedford camper. After a few more disastrous trips under our belt, the final straw came at Easter when we found ourselves on a campsite (read: in the middle of a field) with no working showers, filthy toilets and no facilities bar the aforementioned ‘amenities’. Smelly grown-ups, bored kids. On the day we were due to come home the county saw the worst snow it had in a number of years. Stranded, unable to leave with no food or clean clothes I’d fallen out of love with camping and was set to sell Bertie.

Except I wasn’t quite ready to give up that easily so a few weeks back we booked one final make-or-break trip. The rules: I book the campsite, We don’t travel too far and it must have facilities for the children. So I found a gem of a site in Devon and off we went.

It was fabulous. The sun (remember that?) shining helped and the campsite was superb. I was just at the end of my illness and Max was still not 100% so we decided on a weekend of Doing Nothing. No day trips, no sightseeing (my Dad lives in Devon so we have plenty of chances for that) just spending time together and relaxing. In the broadest sense of the word, with 2 pre-schoolers around.

Tell you what, I’m booking all the campsites in future. Wi-fi, freshly baked bread, an indoor pool, adventure play for the kids and an OFF LICENCE. Amaze. We played, we swam, we ate, we read and, er, watched DVDs. The boys aren’t ones for sitting colouring, crafting or reading (yet). To little, too much energy. The trick, we’ve discovered, is to go somewhere where there’s plenty to keep them occupied. Happy kids = relaxed parents, yes? They spent the entire break running around, playing, making up games, pretending to be puppies and having a ball. I’m already looking forward to our next trip.

Starting school and freaking out

Last night we made a visit to Finn’s primary school which he starts in September. Now I’m proper freaking out. We were sat in a hall listening to the headteacher talk about settling new kids into school and I found myself fighting back the tears. What’s wrong with me?

I should be ok, right? I’ve had 5 years to prepare for this, he’s totally ready and beyond himself with excitement. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when I’ve been overwhelmed and found myself counting down the days until the boys start school but it’s suddenly all happening too fast and my baby is all grown up.

We went to a 5th birthday party last week and these kids were so different to Finn. Compared to these boisterous boys with their name-calling and rough and tumble, he’s so little and innocent. It’s inevitable that he’s going to become more independent, form his own opinions and become his own little person outside of the influence of me, his brother and his Dad and I’m looking forward to that and seeing the person he’ll become but it’s laced with a sadness at the loss of precious time I’ll have with him.

I find myself anxious now at what are probably very silly things, like how will he know where to go? Will he be frightened if he doesn’t know where to put his stuff? Will he know what to do if he needs to go to the toilet? Things which will all be explained to him, of course but most of all I’m worried about him feeling frightened and alone.

The school seems great. Yesterday was reassuring and they are obviously used to silly parents like me with silly concerns and they were quick to say that the kids are eased in gently and will have 6 weeks of half day ‘settling in’ sessions to get used to the routines. They even get to wear slippers in school for the first 2 years to help them feel comfortable which is very cute.

So, I have the next 3 months to ‘make the most’ of my time with Finn. Though how I do that has always been a mystery to me. I guess we’ll have lot of days out, lots of play and get some good quality time in. It’s going to be tough on his brother, too as he’s been a massive influence to him since the day he was born. They idolise each other and I know Max will miss him as much as me.

A good thing to come though is the fact that I’ll have lots of one-to-one time with Max. Time we’ve never had. Come September, I’ll be starting the application process for him, to start next September. Lord knows what I’ll be like when that day comes. Time to have another perhaps…


Bristol: the M Shed edition

FINALLY we have sunshine. I’m not going to bang on about my rainy day woes but lets just say they have been plentiful. Andy’s brother and sis-in-law were visiting from London Town so we decided to take a trip into Bristol (something we don’t do nearly often enough, I LOVE exploring the Harbourside) and visit M Shed.

M Shed is a museum dedicated to the history of Bristol. Perfect for families, it has lots of interactive exhibits to capture the imagination of little visitors. As well as the big old bus which is always a big hit, they are also displaying the pirate ship used in Bristol-based Aardman Animations’ lastest film The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists.

And of course, no day in the sunshine would be complete without an ice cream at the end.

New camera! Loads of pictures!

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We ordered a new camera for the studio this week which came this morning. Perfect timing – meant we could spend a rainly, miserable afternoon messing around indoors, taking pictures and getting to grips with the new gadget.

By the way I am very much a novice (read: haven’t a clue) when it comes to photography. Evidence of this is about to become apparent…

1&2 Bathtime fun

3, 4 & 5 Poor, neglected garden is actually doing alright by istelf

6 This is supposed to have vegetables in it. If we ever get a dry day again, there will be

7 Puss

8 Literally the only time he was quiet all day. Not even joking

9 I love this picture of Finn, just wish it was in focus (told you I’ve no clue. It’s a miracle we even have images)

10 Woof


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Jeez, it’s been forever since I’ve posted on here. I kind of fell out of love with blogging since it landed me in trouble a month or so ago. I took a little hiatus from Twitter and have left the blog (pretty much) alone for a while.

Anyhow, after a tricky few weeks I’m rested, back on form and ready to start again. So hi 🙂

So, yeah, what have I been up to for the last month? As always I turn to the good old iPhone for an update…

 Camping. We bought a (cheap) campervan a few years ago. Honestly, it’s been nothing but trouble. Something has happened every time we’ve been away in it, I’m convinced it’s jinxed. It’s cost a bloody fortune since we got it (there was a reason it was so cheap). Anyway, although this trip started well, didn’t end so well…

This was the view on (what was supposed to be)  our last day. The less said about that the better.

Decorating. So we’ve had a child in that room for 4 years and we’ve only just decorated. What of it?

Writing. And eating. And writing. I went to a fitness convention a few weeks back and attended a lecture on nutrition. Backed up by extensive research, the basic gist of it was that if we focus too much on counting calories, we can make the wrong choices and become deficient in nutients vital to health. Without the basic foundations of health we cannot lose fat efficiently which is where many people go wrong. It might all be a bit boring to alot of people (diet bore-yawn!) but I find it fascinating and as such have spent weeks researching the topic and have written my very own eBook.

Of course, part of that research was to find or write recipes which of course needed road testing. Man, that was hard. Why I felt the need to photograph these meals I don’t know but hey,they make this page look pretty.

Celebrating. My Dad turned 60 this month so we had a family weekend in Devon, grown-ups only. My Stepmum asked me to make a golf-themed cake which I feared would go horribly wrong but was actually pleased with the result. I *think* it tasted ok but it was consumed at 1am after an evenings frivolities so none of us can really be sure.


Cycling. I was volunteered (thanks, husband *waves fist*) to do a charity bike ride from Bristol to Weston yesterday with the kids’ nursery in aid of the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy. 30 Miles, I thought, I can do that. I cycle to work and regularly do a longer ride of  20ms or so on a weekend so thought it’d be fine.

Then they asked me to cycle home again. Yep, stupidly agreed (it’s for the kids, innit?). It was hard, especially on the way back when there were only 4 of us who didn’t get the train back so the speed was increased and there were less stops. All good though, an amazing effort from all and yes, I do have a very sore bum today.

If anyone is kind enough to want to donate to the foundation by the way, you can do so via Paypal using the email address giving your name for the sponsorship form. Thank you 🙂


I wrote a post last week which attracted many re-tweets, was linked to on a few other blogs and mentioned in various Twitter timelines. As a result I had over 700 visitors to my blog in 2 days. Great, right? Yes, of course but the thought of all these people reading about my children and looking at pictures of them awakened my protective instincts and suddenly I found myself feeling very guarded and nervous. Yes, nervous.

But why? When I started this blog it wasn’t for the intention of becoming a ‘Mummy Blogger’. Quite the opposite in fact. Whilst I was keen to write about family life and document what we’ve been up to (more as a diary than anything else) I also wanted to use it as a platform to share my life. Write about whatever is on my mind, things I find interesting and hopefully things people want to read about.

Reading my posts, it has taken a different direction. I find myself writing frequently about the boys, adding images of them even when they’re not the actual subject. I guess if you’re going to write about your life and your life revolves around your family (only natural when you have small children, yes?) then it’s inevitable that the writing reflects this eventually.

So, what to do? I’m happy to keep writing about the children but I don’t think I want them to be the main focus and I don’t know if I want to share as many pictures of them. I like the approach of Lucy at her excellent Attic24 blog. She writes about her family but never names her children and limits images of them to feet and hands. Red Boots, a new Mother, has recently posted on how she’d like her daughter to remain private to protect her from potential implications in the future.

I’m still undecided as to which direction I’ll go but would love to hear from you if you have an opinion on this. Do you share your children on your blog? Do you limit the information you share or do you choose to not write about them at all?